Ashes in the Wind

Ashes in the Wind

4.4 143
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
     
 

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A woman burdened by war...A doctor torn between passion and duty...A sweeping tale of love in the face of dishonor from the incomparable storyteller--Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Alaina MacGaren is forced to flee the devastation of her homeland in the guise of a young boy, only to find sanctuary in the arms of an enemy.See more details below

Overview

A woman burdened by war...A doctor torn between passion and duty...A sweeping tale of love in the face of dishonor from the incomparable storyteller--Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Alaina MacGaren is forced to flee the devastation of her homeland in the guise of a young boy, only to find sanctuary in the arms of an enemy.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

From 1979. A rebel spy and a Yankee doctor find love against all odds in this poignant Civil War romance.


—Kristin Ramsdell

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688125028
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/1950

Meet the Author

(1939 - 2007) Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, creator of the modern historical romance, died July 6, 2007 in Minnesota. She had just turned 68. Her attorney, William Messerlie, said that she died after a long illness.

Born on June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana, Mrs. Woodiwiss was the youngest of eight siblings. She long relished creating original narratives, and by age six was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss at a dance, and they married the following year. She wrote her first book in longhand while living at a military outpost in Japan.

Woodiwiss is credited with the invention of the modern historical romance novel: in 1972, she released The Flame and the Flower, an instant New York Times bestseller, creating literary precedent. The Flame and the Flower revolutionized mainstream publishing, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and impassioned sex scenes. "Kathleeen E. Woodiwiss is the founding mother of the historical romance genre," says Carrie Feron, vice president/editorial director of William Morrow and Avon Books, imprints of HarperCollins Publishers. Feron, who has been Woodiwiss's editor for 13 years, continues, "Avon Books is proud to have been Kathleen's sole publishing partner for her paperbacks and hardcover novels for more than three decades." Avon Books, a leader in the historical romance genre to this day, remains Mrs. Woodiwiss's original and only paperback publisher; William Morrow, Avon's sister company, publishes Mrs. Woodiwiss's hardcovers.

The Flame and the Flower was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers, who deemed it as "too long" at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Mrs. Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel and arranged an initial 500,000 print run. The novel sold over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication.

The success of this novel prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The romance novels which followed in her example featured longer plots, more controversial situations and characters, and more intimate and steamy sex scenes.

"Her words engendered an incredible passion among readers," notes Feron. Bestselling author Julia Quinn agrees, saying, "Woodiwiss made women want to read. She gave them an alternative to Westerns and hard-boiled police procedurals. When I was growing up, I saw my mother and grandmother reading and enjoying romances, and when I was old enough to read them myself, I felt as if I had been admitted into a special sisterhood of reading women."

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a leading voice in the women's fiction arena, says, "We all owe our careers to her. She opened the world of romance to us as readers. She created a career for us to go into."

The pioneering author has written 13 novels over the course of 35 years, all New York Times bestsellers. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss's final literary work, the upcoming Everlasing, will be published by William Morrow in October 2007. "Everlasting is Kathleen's final gift to her fans," notes Feron.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who was predeceased by her husband and son Dorren, is survived by sons Sean and Heath, and numerous grandchildren.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 3, 1939
Date of Death:
July 6, 2007
Place of Birth:
Alexandria, Louisiana
Place of Death:
Princeton, Minnesota

Read an Excerpt

Intrepid young Alaina already knows the handsome Yankee captain, but in her disguise as a boy, she cannot allow her womanly reaction to the virile army surgeon to betray her. But one tempestuous night Cole finds himself in a Southern plantation, with a beautiful woman he does not recognize, and Alaina's defenses are bombarded in ways she had never thought possible.

Bright moonlight streamed in through the parted curtains, lightening the room until all was visible. Though the lingering essence of intoxicants still clouded his brain, Cole became aware of the woman who leaned against the door. His mind felt slow and listless, and he could find no reason for what he saw, nor could he explain his presence in a strange bedroom. His situation struck him as extremely precarious. For all he knew he might momentarily find himself confronted by an outraged husband or an irate father bent on restoring his daughter's honor.

"Ma'am," he began, sorely chafed at the thickness of his tongue. "I fear I have intruded."

Alaina realized escape was impossible, and knew she would have to brazen it out.

Her soft laughter broke the silence of the room. "Surely you haven't decided to leave us after you vowed to stay the night, Captain. Can it be that you have forgotten so soon?" She mimicked the relaxed familiarity of the most successful courtesan and her voice was as honey, smooth and cultured. The deception seemed simple enough; she could play this part as successfully as that of ragged urchin. Yet she was thankful for the shadow that shrouded Cole's nakedness, for the game might have dissolved in her own embarrassment and flight.

Alaina remembered her uncle had kept a decanter of brandyhidden away in the guest room, and she went to search the bureau for it. This was no time for the captain to sober up. If he would just drink enough and go back to bed, she was sure he would sleep the night through.

As she passed before the window, a shaft of silvery moonlight penetrated her garments. The slim but well-curved figure whet Cole's appetite and imagination no small amount. The lust flared through his starved senses, and he felt a familiar tightening in his loins.

"Here, Captain," the silky voice urged as the woman came back. "Have another drink." Alaina pressed a water glass, liberally filled with brandy, into his hand, then slipped quickly away as he reached for her. Her soft laughter teased him. "Drink first, Captain."

Cole lifted the glass and tasted deeply of its contents. He was rather pleased at its quality but accepted that too as logical. In the captive city, brothels were the only establishments that continued to operate affluently, and it was evident that this one was a step above the others he had seen.

"Now really, Captain." She rested a hand on his furred chest and pushed him back lightly. "You should return to bed. There's a chill in the air, and you'll surely catch your death." Cole tried to focus on her face, but it was only a vague blur. "I've an errand to do downstairs, but it won't take long, then I'll be back."

The idea was not to Cole's liking. He finished the brandy in an impatient gulp, hardly feeling its warmth with the heat that already throbbed through his veins, and set the glass aside.

"You rest yourself a moment, Captain," Alaina coaxed softly, moving away. "I really must be about my errand."

Cole cursed his stumbling gait but caught her arm as she reached the door. Alaina looked up at him in surprise, not daring to speak. Her heart pounded turbulently within her bosom. He seemed so tall and immense as he loomed over her like a threatening dark avenger.

"A kiss I would have," he murmured thickly, "lest I grow weary of the wait. Come." He pulled her hard against his chest. "Give me a sampling of your wares that I might better anticipate your return."

She found her lips entrapped with his, and though they were soft and gentle, they flamed with a fiery heat that warmed her whole body. Her eyes closed and the strength of his embrace, the brandy taste of his mouth, the hard pressure of his loins made her all too aware that this was a strong, living, healthy man, that he was treating her like a woman, indeed desiring her. Her head swam as he drew back slightly, and she wondered vaguely if she might swoon. In the quiet moment that passed between them, she tried to still the violent tremor that had seized her.

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