The Flame and the Flower

( 265 )

Overview

The Flower

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

The Flame

A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can ...

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Overview

The Flower

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

The Flame

A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“A phenemenon.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The queen of historical romance.”
Library Journal

A fugitive heroine and an adventurous sea captain make a new life for themselves in the American Colonies in this passionate romance that started a revolution. Original: 1972.


—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380005253
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1972
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 103,155
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

(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.

Biography

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss always indulged her flair for the romantic. As a child, she devoured fairy tales. When she was just 16 years old, she met and fell in love with her future husband, 21-year-old Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss, at a sock hop. They eloped a year later, and he often helped her work out the plots to her bestselling novels.

But fame and fortune didn't come as easily. On writing her first romance novel, Woodiwiss told People magazine, "It was something I was embarrassed to admit. Writing a novel seemed farfetched." Lucky for her readers, Woodiwiss persisted, with encouragement from friends and family. Even though her groundbreaking first novel, The Flame and the Flower, was ignored by eight publishers, it was eventually picked up by Avon Books and quickly became a bestseller.

The Flame and the Flower is credited with being the first historical romance novel, a subgenre that now accounts for a huge percentage of all paperback romances. Released in 1972, it opened a world of passionate fantasies and paved the way for subsequent romance writers to indulge in longer plots, historical fiction, controversial characters, and steamy scenes of sexual tension. According to bestselling romance novelist Julia Quinn, "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."

Despite her long career, Woodiwiss was not one of those book-a-year romance writers. In an interview with Germany's Bertelsmann Club, she attributed the long breaks between books to the intervention of real life: raising a family, marital problems, and medical issues. But through her ups and downs, she always focused on creating escapist, hopelessly romantic worlds for her readers. There is no "message," just the entertaining page-turners her fans know and love.

Good To Know

Taking inspiration from her favorite fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast," Woodiwiss penned A Rose in Winter, the bestselling story of a fair maiden who is promised to a horribly disfigured, misunderstood recluse. There's a happy ending, of course.

Long before she was a bestselling novelist, Woodiwiss worked as a fashion model. Beauty and brains -- just like many of her strong-willed leading ladies.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kathleen Erin Hogg (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 3, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alexandria, Louisiana
    1. Date of Death:
      July 6, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      Princeton, Minnesota

Read an Excerpt

With her first book, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss forever changed the nature of romance novels. Feisty heroine Heather Simmons—young and captivating, thrust into the care of a spiteful aunt first meets Captain Brandon Birmingham after an occurrence that leaves her believing she has killed a man. The chemistry between them is instantaneous, and readers everywhere gasped at this explosive introduction to the special world of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

As they entered the captain' s cabin, a man rose from the desk where he had been sitting and, had it not been for her bruised state of mind, Heather would have noticed his tall, muscular build and piercing green eyes. Fawn-colored breeches were fitted snug about his narrow hips and a white ruffled shirt, opened to the waist, revealed a chest wide and firmly muscled beneath a mat of crisp black hair. He had the look of a pirate about him, or even Satan himself, with his dark, curly hair and long sideburns that accentuated the lean, handsome features of his face. His nose was thin and straight except for a slight hook in its profile just below the bridge. His hair was raven black and his skin darkly tanned. White teeth flashed in contrast as he smiled and came forward, sweeping her with a bold gaze from top to toe.

"Aye, you've done a handsome night's work with this one, George. You must have searched hard and wide for her."

"Nay, cap'n," the old man returned. "We found her walking the streets of the waterfront. She came most willingly, cap'n."

The man nodded and walked slowly, deliberately, completely around Heather as she stood rooted to the floor, not touching her with anything but those emerald eyes and they were enough. He pausedbefore her for a moment, smiling, but her eyes would not meet his. She kept them cast downward and stood humbly awaiting some indication of her fate. Behind her the two men grinned, extremely pleased with themselves.

The tall man moved aside with them and the fellow, George, spoke in a low voice. Heather' s eyes moved about the cabin but saw nothing. Outwardly she appeared calm, but the emotional strains raging within her further sapped her strength. She was exhausted, bone tired, confused. She found it difficult to reconcile a magistrate of the law on board a ship, but knowing little of the processes of justice, reasoned that she was probably to be sent to some penal colony, for in her own mind she was guilty of murder.

"Oh God," she thought, "that I should be raised from a sty by the temptation of a life of ease and for my sin plunged into a prison. I killed a man and I've been caught and I must now accept whatever fate decrees for me."

Her mind stopped and held and was trapped by these final facts. She was guilty. She was caught. Justice had done with her and she had no further word. She did not hear the door close behind her as the seamen left, but words from the man who stood before her roused her from her thoughts. He laughed gently and made a sweeping bow.

''Welcome back, m'lady, and I repeat, what is your name."

"Heather," she murmured softly. "Heather Simmons, sir."

"Ah," he sighed. "A small, tempting flower from the moors. It's a most lovely and fitting name, m'lady. Brandon Birmingham is my name. Most of my friends call me Bran. Have you dined this evening?"

She made a small nod.

"Then perhaps some wine, a very fine Madeira," he asked.

She shook her head slowly, dropping her gaze to the floor. He laughed softly and came forward to stand close before her. He took the bundle she clutched and tossed it in a nearby chair as he stared down at her, dazzled by her youthful beauty and the gown that seemed only a sparkling veil over her body. Her ivory skin glowed softly in the candlelight, and by the golden flames he saw before him a small woman, gracefully slender with breasts full and round, generously and temptingly swelling above her gown. They rose and fell slowly.

He moved closer and in a rapid movement slipped his arm about her narrow waist, nearly lifting her from the floor, and then covered her mouth with his, engulfing Heather in a heady scent, not unlike that of a brandy her father had been fond of. She was too surprised to resist and hung limp in his embrace. She saw herself as if from outside her body and felt with mild amusement his tongue parting her lips and thrusting within. From a low level of consciousness there grew a vague feeling of pleasure and, had the circumstances been different, she might have enjoyed the hard, masculine feel of his body against hers.

()1972 by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss)

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 265 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(181)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 267 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2011

    Favorite romance novel!!

    I read this book several years ago and was excited to finally be able to find it and read it again. Yes it is erotic; however, there is an extra element of surprise as it marries patient endurance and chastity with passionate love. I'm not really into romance that includes the betrayal of one lover for another one, which is another reason this novel stands out for me, since it is entirely absent of this. Even what may appear to be a betrayal is more of a severing of old and rather loose habits; this in trade for the stability of true devotion is benefitial to all. Apparently, Woodwiss created a whole new type of the historical romance genre with this, her first novel! It holds a quality that is often absent in other romance novels. I would highly recommend this tender morsel!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    An Unforgetable Romance

    I read this book around the time it was published. Now, years later, I still think about this story. As I read it I felt as though I was there with the characters, watching everything unfold before my eyes. This story has remained so vivid to me unlike any other book I have ever read. Honestly, I have read plenty of books in my lifetime, but none have ever moved me like 'The Flame and the Flower'. If you haven't read this book yet please don't pass it by.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    First book I ever read!!

    This is seriously the first book I ever read and I love it! I am always rereading it! I will keep that book forever! It is just so good! I love Brandon and Heather! I also love Jeff in this book and in his own book!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Unbelievable

    IF you can get beyond the beginning of the book, you might find romance here, but the rape of an already abused virginal young girl by a man who shows no remorse and smugly decides to keep her as his mistress had me turned off from the onset. All romance characters have issues to resolve, but I really don't think this is one so easily overcome as the writer would have you believe. Physical and verbal abuse turned into everlasting love in a few short pages? A little twisted, I thought.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding

    Very well done. Read the next one as well. The Eluisve Flame.
    I read so many books I would be here all day telling about the books. If I didnt put the books on here they would not mean anything then. I Am sorry if I am rude but I really am not I just want to get back to reading and every day life. All the books I put up here are very good. I have been a reader for over 14 years have read over 3 to 4 thousands books. so you see all an all Kathleen is a great writer. If you have time go and see some more books I have read. Hit my name on here

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2006

    A good Romance

    I wouldn't call this the best romance novel I've ever read, but I still couldn't put it down at the end of the day. I didn't want to read this book at first because of some previous reviews about rape. I'm not into that and I find it very unromantic. I thought reading it would ruin all other woodiwiss novels for me. I say give it a try anyway. This 'rape' is not what you think. I thought I would be outraged, but the way the story unfolds I wasn't that upset. It brings some reality to the story. Real life is not always full of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. This twist makes it real because life isn't always a fairytalle. Give this book a try and I'm sure you could forgive Brandon as Heather does.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is the best romance novel ever. It is the novel that got me stuck on reading romances. It may not be for the faint of heart due to the beginning, but it really is a story that gives the message that love really does overcome all obstacles.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2006

    One of my all time faves!!

    I fell in love with this book on the first page. I can, and have read this book over and over again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2004

    Woodiwiss started with a BANG!

    This book was utterly flawless. When I finished it, it felt like I had been holding my breath it was that exciting and good.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2003

    Wonderful!

    I am now reading this book for the second time and love it just as much as the first time! I couldn't put it down. I love the teasing sexiness of Brandon and Heather's relationship. Very sexy indeed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2002

    Is Rape considered Romance?

    Ok, in less than the first 10 pages of this book, the main female character is raped by the 'handsom hero'. And whats worse than just the repeated raping is that she lets it happen. She doesnt fight back or try to stop it. But she crys and hates her life. - I wonder why. Then she is forced to marry this creep because he got her pregnant and she hates him with all her might but she just goes along with the wedding. There is no love or romance in this book, I was wretching while reading this book because both of the main characters are idots. I'm tired of Romance Novels that always put abuse and rape and such in them because we want to read books that make us smile and laugh, not that make us cringe.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2000

    Not a Good Romance.

    Ok. I can understand that it's 'romantic' with the beautiful, innocent heroine, and the handsome hero. And they do, of course, fall in love and live happily ever after. My problem: How, in the name of goodness, can you logically expect any woman in her right mind to fall in love with the man who raped her and then is abusive (verbally at least) and mean? I can sort of understand why he would fall in love with her, but just barely. If you're looking for a real Romance, then don't read this. It's interesting, but totally unrealistic, and much too violent for my taste in a Romance.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Another great book by Woodiwiss - a must read

    I have read this book 3-4 times over the last 20 years. Woodiwiss is
    a great story teller.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Keep reading!

    Some reviews stated they didn't like the beginning of the story. If you stick with it and keep reading, it's well worth it! I love stories about bearded sea captains that meet a woman that "gets" to them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2006

    this one has and always will be my all time favorite

    This IS the best book I have ever read, I could not put it down, read the whole book in 1 day. I liked it so much I have read this book 4 times over the past several years!!!! and i'm planning on reading it again!!! Kathleen Woodiwess is a wonderful wrighter. This is a book not to be missed, I also love Petals on the River and have read it twice!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2014

    First Romance I Read

    This I've been looking or for such a long time. This book I read when I was just married n I found it. I liberties story . N no there's not smut in it . But romance .yesss

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Masterful!

    I loved this book. I had a hard time putting this book down. I will look for more from this author. I thought this book was a great love story, with mystery and suspense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Austin

    Mhm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Siri

    Thanks baby.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Well written, but offset by the H/h.

    The story was well written, but offset by the H/h. Brandon was sophisticated, selfish, dominating. Heather was well, simply too weak in every way. Difficult to accept their love as genuine. They simply did not complement. Their relationship was

    Nonetheless, the plot was entertaining. The supporting cast was more intriguing than the H/h--yes, even Louisa was far more interesting. Did not entirely regret reading it however. After all, it was deemed a contemporary classic like GONE WITH THE WIND by many fans. But oh please! Brandon may have been modeled somewhat like the great Rhett Butler. But Heather was not--nor ever be--Scarlett O'Hara.

    Not a keeper, so cannot rank above average.

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