A Season Beyond a Kiss

( 62 )

Overview

In the loving embrace of her new husband, the dashing American shipping magnate Jeff Birmingham, Raelynn Barrett can forget her painful past and the tragic, undeserved disgrace of her family. With Jeff, each sweet, lingering kiss is a promise of a future rich in joy and sensual fulfilment.

But Raelynn can hear the whispered rumours that damn the man she loves. And what her own eyes have witnessed seem to brand her adored and adoring Jeff as the worst sort of criminal. In the ...

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Overview

In the loving embrace of her new husband, the dashing American shipping magnate Jeff Birmingham, Raelynn Barrett can forget her painful past and the tragic, undeserved disgrace of her family. With Jeff, each sweet, lingering kiss is a promise of a future rich in joy and sensual fulfilment.

But Raelynn can hear the whispered rumours that damn the man she loves. And what her own eyes have witnessed seem to brand her adored and adoring Jeff as the worst sort of criminal. In the face of the devastating treacheries of ruthless, hidden enemies, how can Jeff ever hope to win back the trust of the woman he cherishes.?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The romance genre has changed drastically in the last two decades, but Woodiwiss here returns us to the unlamented bodice ripper. Overblown prose coupled with cardboard characters makes this title almost impossible to wade through. In this sequel to her legendary "Flame and Flower" series, Jeff Birmingham is wed to Raelynn Barrett, the Englishwoman he had rescued in a prior novel. The marriage gets off to a rocky start. Once the wedding vows are consummated, however a detail that takes 90 endless minutes to accomplish marital bliss ensues. Then a young woman is killed, and Jeff is discovered standing over the body holding the murder weapon. Reader Susan Ericksen's matter-of-fact delivery makes it possible for the listener to almost overlook the endless sex that masquerades as a plot. Every character is recognizable by both accent and mannerism. Unfortunately, Ericksen can't overcome the book's tiresome pacing. For diehard fans only. Jodi L. Israel, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380807949
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 190,639
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.99 (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

Chapter One



Near Charleston, South Carolina
July 29, 1803

Reluctantly Raelynn Birmingham roused from slumber and lifted an eyelid to peer menacingly toward the open French doors through which drifted a distant, repetitive pounding. The sun had barely weaned itself from its earthly breast, yet a clammy warmth, augmented by a brief downpour during the night, had already stolen into her second-story bedroom. In spite of the portent of unbearable heat and humidity, Raelynn considered her chances of getting a few more moments of sleep ... if she could bestir herself from the chamber's stately four-poster longe nough to close the portals. Through most of the hours of darkness just past, she had tossed in restless frustration upon her lonely bed, tormented by sensual longings her handsome husband had awakened within her, cravings that were as yet unappeased after almost two weeks of marriage. If not for the untimely intrusion of a predacious blackguard, who, with his hired rabble, forced his way into the plantation house on her wedding night, and the barrier she had personally set between her bridegroom and herself a day later after hearing a young wench accuse him of siring her unborn child, Raelynn had no doubt that she would have now been sharing not only her husband's bed but all the pleasures to be found in matrimony. Truly, in this case, ignorance might have led to bliss if not for a girl named Nell.

The idea of remaining ensconced in bed didn't seem nearly so appealing when Raelynn realized she had been perspiring enough to have dampened her batiste nightgown. It clung to her with maddening persistence until she wasdriven to pluck the garment away from her bosom and fan' herself with it, creating a billowing motion that forced a light current of cooling air over her moist skin. It brought instant relief, but, at best, it would last no longer than her efforts.

Her lengthy yawn bordered on a recalcitrant groan as she crawled from the bed and tottered drowsily to the washstand. There she poured water into the porcelain washbasin and cupped the liquid to her face, hoping to put her doldrums to flight. The benefits proved just as fleeting, and no less groggy, she lent her attention to brushing her teeth.

Foreseeing a lingering lethargy unless she regained some small portion of the sleep she had lost, Raelynn pondered her chances of subduing the noise to create a more restful mood. In such a quest, she wove an unsteady path to the French doors, but upon reaching the glass-paned portals, it dawned on her that if she closed them, the room would then become stifling. Her bedchamber was one of four opening out onto the veranda that stretched across the back of the house. Only Jeff's larger chambers next door and the bedroom at the opposite end of the structure had combinations of windows and French doors. The middle two only had a double set of the latter.

When presented a choice between suffocating within the confines of a hot, stuffy room and suffering through the noisy hammering, Raelynn decided forthwith that she could tolerate the racket far better than the unbearable alternative. Far removed from England's moderate weather, she was now ensconced in Oakley Plantation House, located in the Carolinas where she had been warned prior to her arrival that temperatures could soar to sweltering degrees in the summer, especially in the latter months of the season. It was not a place to lightly dismiss the discomfort and hazards of rising temperatures.

A disconcerted sigh escaped Raelynn as she, leaned a shoulder against the jamb and swept her gaze beyond the white balustrade bordering the outer limits of the gallery. Some time after the rain, a thick haze had crept over the land. Even now, it seemed to isolate the manse in a world of its own. Wreathed by the milky vapors, a row of huge, sprawling live oaks created a vague rampart of bluffed darkness across the spacious back yard, obscuring everything beyond them as they separated the main grounds from the servants' quarters, a collection of cabins, ranging in size from small to large, that resided in the shade of other lofty trees. Raelynn had no need to probe the mists to locate the area from whence the din arose. She knew as well as anyone living on the plantation that behind the third tree a new structure was presently being erected for the black housekeeper and her small family. Less than a fortnight ago, charred ashes and blackened timbers were all that remained of Corals home and possessions, yet, as late as yesterday afternoon, Raelynn had seen pitched rafters rising above the new timbers that now formed the outer shell of the structure.

Making no attempt to stifle another yawn, Raelynn lifted her long, auburn tresses off her neck. In such climes her hair had proven as heavy and warm as wool, and in view of the heat yet to come, which only promised to worsen as they entered August, she could only foresee added discomfort unless she started braiding the thick mass before retiring at night.

A Season Beyond A Kiss. Copyright © by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(7)

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Terrible

    I have loved most of the Woodiwiss books, but this one is at the very bottom of the list. It is a continuation of another story I haven't read, so I was left feeling like I was missing something. Then the characters have a love scene in the first chapter, which makes the book feel like porn. Woodiwiss usually builds up the story, characters, and suspense/tension, making for an enjoyable read. She failed on this one.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2004

    Horrid!!!

    I have read just about all woodwiss' books and I have to say that this takes the cake for being the worst. The characters are so poorly developed...., the story bores you to tears. I actually fell asleep reading this book, and I'm a person who normally misses sleep to stay up and read. I would not recommend this book to anybody. Woodwiss is clearly under par.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Least favorite

    It seemed to me the authoress had a bigger story in mind for Jeffrey Burmingham but for unknown reason decided to rush through it. Too bad because I was fond of Brandon's brother in the first book. I would profure the story to start when they first meet rather than after marriage. I wish the story had more insight into Jeff,s thouhts and most of the love making parts were closer to porn than the celebrations of union KW usually masters. I did like the male friends & comraderie they sharred + thier back stories, that was nice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Since I have been reading and enjoying Woodiwiss' books for near

    Since I have been reading and enjoying Woodiwiss' books for nearly twenty-five years, I fully expected to enjoy this one as well. Where usually I can't put her books down, I couldn't seem to pick this one up, and it took me several months to finish it. The stilted dialogue and unusually high rate of verbiage made me wonder more than once whether I was really reading a Woodiwiss book. I respect her as a writer too much to actually say the book sucked, but I was certainly underwhelmed by this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2000

    Enjoyable yet confusing

    I enjoyed this book as I do all of Woodiwiss's books but why did she call this a sequel when it is actually a prequel. The novel before this one, ' The Elusive Flame' takes place after 'A season Beyond a Kiss'. Beau Birbingham is just a child in this novel. While he was romancing Cerynise Kendall one book ago. I would have liked them to be in chronological order.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining historical romance

    In 1803 Charleston, Jeff and Raelynn Birmingham seem happily married in spite of machinations from her Uncle Cooper and an odious wannabe lover Gustav Fridrich. However, she begins to doubt her husband¿s faithfulness when a teenager Nell claims he impregnated her. He vehemently denies her charges. After Nell gives birth, she again accuses Jeff of being the father. Soon after that, Raelynn finds Jeff holding a bloody knife while Nell lies nearby dead. <P>Raelynn believes Jeff killed Nell even though he denies it. She runs away, but he follows and rescues her from becoming lost in the swamp. They separate, but over time she misses her beloved spouse and begins to conclude that he could never kill in cold blood. However, someone did in the hope of setting up Jeff to take the fall and either the same assailant or another wants Raelynn dead too. <P>A SEASON BEYOND A KISS, the long awaited sequel to the classic THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER, is an interesting historical romantic intrigue that fans of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss will enjoy. The story line is filled with tension and plenty of action. The tale starts off a bit slow, but once the plot picks up speed it never slows down until the climax. Raelynn¿s behavior seems offbeat and inappropriate especially her attitude towards the heroic Jeff. Readers will love the lead male character and hiss at the various villains. Though no flaming flower, A SEASON BEYOND A KISS is an enjoyable novel that can stand-alone. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Ransan

    I find myself skipping a lot of pages. Poor reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    This book is so slow and boring. Not like her usual writting.

    This book is so slow and boring. Not like her usual writting. You have to get half way through the book for it start to get somewhat interesting. Very disappointed. Not one of her better books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Love it

    Good

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    I read The Flame & the Flower and wanted to continue the fam

    I read The Flame &amp; the Flower and wanted to continue the family saga. After reading the reviews of this book I found the background for this book were two short stories in Three Weddings and A Kiss also Marred at Midnight. I chose to read only &quot;A Kiss&quot; and was able to figure out through the narrative exactly what was going on. I enjoyed it very much. Loved Jeff, but Raelynn was not the most memorable or brightest female of the Woodiss books.but since she is a teenager you have to give her a break.. It was a good love story which is what we all are following with the Birmingham men.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

    Strongly Recommend

    Well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    Great Romantic Read

    If I'm going to read a romance novel. Kathleen's books are on my list. When I want to relax and escape into a world of romance, her books are perfect. The first I every read was The Wolf and The Dove and I've been a fan ever since.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    do not waste your money!

    I had been waiting for this book to come out as the character of Jeff in the Flame and the Flower was great. This book had no deepth to it at all & you had to read two intro books before this book even starts. Had Flame & the Flower been as shallow as this one been of the same type I never would have bothered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2002

    The Misunderstandings

    A lot of people don't really understand this book because they didn't read Jeff's story prior to this one. There are two books that tell more background information. The books are called "Married at Midnight and Three weddings and a Kiss". If you read the short stories in these books you will be able to understand this story better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2002

    MUST HAVE FOR WOODWISS LIBRARY

    Kathleen up to her usual standards. Not all sequels follow the path we would like. Jeff finally had his moment to shine. Although all of us fell in love with Brandon and Heather, it was time to tell another tale. Keep writing Kathleen. You've never let me down yet. I've been 'hooked' on you for twenty-eight years!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2001

    Blech! So much for sequels

    I have read all of Ms. Woodiwiss' books. This one was awful. When she ran out of plot, the couple hit the sheets. There was zero character development. The story made little sense and rambled all over the place, and was hard to follow if you hadn't read the 4 Weddings book. (I also note she made reference to Beau's eyes 'changing colors' from green to blue to cover up her boo-boo in 'The Elusive Flame' - fast footwork there, Ms. W.!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2001

    i want to know where kathleen has gone!

    i really enjoyed reading a season beyond a kiss. the story line was compelling and held me spellbond the entire book. i love all the characters and i especially love the setting of old world charm. keep writing these wonderful stories kathleen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2000

    A Season beyond a Kiss

    This was so disappointing. I could not get through the first 200 pages. There was no spark, no chemistry, nothing to hold my interest. I have read everything she has written and this is the first that I had a hard time completing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2000

    Still Searching

    I'm still searching for the beginning of this story! I read The Flame and the Flower so long ago that I honestly don't remember if Raelynn's story was told at the end of it or not. If not, there is way too much missing from this book. Woodiwiss sprinkles parts of Raelynn's history throughout the book, but at no point did I feel like I had caught up. She also spends way too much time describing bedroom scenes in the first part of the book. I kept wondering when the story was going to begin. What a disappointment from an author who can write wonderful books! Ashes in the Wind was the best she ever wrote. I'm now going to go back and re-read Flower and the Flame in order to see if there was something in there that I should have been able to remember while reading Season Beyond a Kiss.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2000

    An extrodinary Book---Very much up to her standard writting

    I was extremely pleased and thouroughly enjoyed the novel,,it was definetley Kathleen E. Woodwiss excellent writting that made the book so good, The only thing that was missing was a prelude to lead you into the story of how they meet but as I began reading the book I could'nt put it down. Keeep up the excellent writting Kathleen,,I enjoy your books alot and wished you wrote faster so I could read more of your writting more often,,,You are one of my favorite 2 authors.

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