Shanna

( 202 )

Overview

A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows ...

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Overview

A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled.

But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free . . . and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion. And no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy that is rightfully his.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

A desperate bargain and a hasty marriage in Newgate Prison have unexpected consequences for Shanna and Ruark in this lively 1977 romance with a lush Caribbean setting.


—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380385881
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1978
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 133,698
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 1.41 (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


Sometimes it is coincidence that brings two people together, and some times that first meeting is brought about by the determination of one's character. The exquisitely beautiful and independent Shanna needs a temporary husband, and quickly. So, gathering all of her dignity and resolve, she makes a secret pact with a dark and dangerous man, never expecting that her bargain will garner her a love beyond comparison.

Shanna moved to stand close before him to lend weight to her words. Her eyes wide and appealing, she stared into his and spoke almost in a whisper.

"Ruark, I am in distress. I must be wed to a man of sterling name, and you must be aware of the importance in England of the Beauchamp fam ily. No one would know except myself, of course, that you are no kin. And since you have little future need of your narne, I could use it well."

Ruark' s confusion blunted his wits. He could not think of her motive. A lover? A child? Certainly not debts, for she was of money such as no debt could entangle. His puzzled frown met the blue-green eyes.

"Surely, madam, you jest. To propose marriage to a man about to hang? Upon my word, I cannot see the logic in it."

" 'Tis a matter of some delicacy." Shanna presented her back to him as if embarrassed and paused before continuing. She spoke de murely over her shoulder. "My father, Orlan Trahern, gave me one year to find a husband, and failure shall find me betrothed to whom he wills. He sees me a spinster and wants heirs for his fortunes. The man must be of a family privy to King George. I have not yet found the one I would choose as my own, though the year is almost gone. You are my one last hopeto avoid a marriage arranged by my father." Now came the hardest part. She had to plead with this filthy, ragged colonial. She kept her face averted to hide her distaste. "I have heard,'' she said carefully, "that a man may marry a woman to take her debts to the gallows in re turn for an easing of his final days. I can give you much, Ruark--food, wines, suitable clothing and warm blankets. And surely my cause--"

At his continued silence, Shanna turned toward him and tried to see his features in the gloom, but he had carefully maneuvered their po sitions until she now was presented full to the light when she faced him. The wily beggar had moved so stealthily that she had not been aware of it.

Ruark's voice was somewhat strained as he finally said, "Milady, you test me sorely. A gentleman my mother tried to teach me to be, with good respect for womanhood." Shanna's breath caught as he stepped nearer. "But my father, a man of considerable wisdom, taught me early in my youth a rule I've long abided."

He walked slowly around her, much as she had done with him a few moments before, then halted when he stood at her back. Scarcely breathing, Shanna waited, feeling his nearness yet not daring to move.

"Never--" Ruark's whisper came close to her ear, stirring awake a tingling of fear in her. "Never buy a mare with a blanket on."

Shanna could not suppress a flinch as his hands came over her shoulders and hovered above the fasteners of her cloak.

"May I?'' he asked and his voice, though soft, seemed to fill the very corners of the cell. Ruark accepted her silence as consent, and Shanna braced herself while his lean fingers undid the velvet frogs. He drew the cloak from her, and though lacking splendorous trimming and fancy laces, her deep red velvet gown enhanced her beauty divinely. She was the gem, the jewel of rare beauty which made the dress more than a garment but rather a work of art. Above the hooped panniers which expanded her skirt on the sides, the tightly laced bodice showed the narrowness of her waist while it cupped her bosom to a most daring display above the square decolletage. In the golden glow of the tallow lantern, her skin gleamed like rich, warm satin.

Ruark stood close, his breath falling softly against her hair, his head filled with the delicious scent of woman.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 202 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(142)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 205 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Great Read

    I just noticed this book as a former free boo friday selection...and wow...did it take me back?

    I read this when I was about 21.... at my sister's recommendation...It was one of the reasons I became an avid reader of all kinds of books.....

    This author allowed this character to be so interesting....you wanted to read about other fictional characters in all kinds of genres....

    When I read this book, I was more of a dreamer, and this book took that vice of mine to a place that made it possible for there to be a Shanna and many characters like her to exist between the pages...

    When a writer does that, you want to read more of their writing...Shanna will make you want to read all of this writers work....I have never been disappointed in KW book...

    I am older now....and my tastes in fiction has changed somewhat...but when I see or hear KW mentioned...it takes me back to a very sweet time in my life where I was dazzled by simply opening a book...my love of reading was born because of this writer...and for that, I will always be grateful...

    For years I kept this book on the top shelf of my closet....and would vow to read it again when the memory of the story had faded....however...it never did fade....I eventually felt a little guilty that I had kept the book to myself for so long....and thought why not pass it on to others....so I let it go eventually...and now that I have a nook...

    I will put it back on my shelf....as it will remind me not only of one of the best love stories written....but my sister who introduced me to a book that changed the way I spent time to myself.....

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    this is one GREAT READ!! It compares to the GONE WITH THE WIND

    this is one GREAT READ!! It compares to the GONE WITH THE WIND of my teen generation. I read this book some thirty years ago while I was in Germany, I loaned it to someone else to read and never got it back. I searched for years for another copy and finally found one in a second hand book store. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a wonderful romance novel that will trigger enough emotions to keep thinking of the book years after you finish it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    The Best ... BY the Best

    Woodiwiss will forever be the be all end all of all romance writers in my opinion. I will never get sick of picking up my tattered copy of this book and reading it over and over again. I am more in love with him each time I read it - :) Woodiwiss to me wrote the best historical romance novel ever when she penned Shanna - it will never be topped - :)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2013

    I read this book and many others by this author when I was a you

    I read this book and many others by this author when I was a young woman. I am retired now and was looking for a good read and didn't find any that took me away like this author did so I've decided to buy and reread some of my favorites. I'm starting off with Kathleen E Woodiwiss because The Wolf and the Dove was the first historical romance novel I ever read and I still remember it and how much I enjoyed it. You should try them too, you won' regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Original romance with several climactic points throughout.

    As romances go this novel was pretty satisfying. The protagonists had to go through a lot of adversity through the completion of the story. Shanna herself could be a bit annoying because she was always going against the grain but it was necessary to the storyline. Ruark (the male protagonist) was hot, intelligent, strong, persistent, resilient, and charming. When Mr. Perfect comes along why not lose yourself in him?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    One of my favorite books! Shanna was so spoiled and determined t

    One of my favorite books! Shanna was so spoiled and determined to have her way and stay single. She marries a man unknown to her and bound for death in prison . Going back to her father who had order her to marry as a widow. Unknown to her the man she married was never put to death and ends up in her life again. Very good book I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Good Good romance

    Love this author work great hero but didnt like how many times shanna threw him to the dogs but he loved her and didnt give up on her would recomend

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Classic!!

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read this book several times over the years and each time it captivates me. Love, love, love it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Love this book!

    Shanna was the first book I read by Kathleen E Woodiwss and because of it I have read all of her other books too. She has amazing creativity and her characters capture you from page one. If you aren't sure whether you should read her I say, you should. And you should start with Shanna because its one of her best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    Love this story

    As good as I remembered from years ago when I first read it. You can see how much Shanna grows up over the course of the story, and even how much more mature the hero she finally comes to know and love becomes. I like how the characters have distinct personalities, and are well developed. The storyline is phenomenal, with a little of everything in it, and it is all tightly woven together in a master plotline. I am old enough to remember how different this book was from any other romance novel when it came out. It was a masterfully done story which was really the first to give the romance genre respectability because of the wonderful quality of the writing. I can remember the librarian asking me if I had heard of this book and recommending it by saying it was not like anything else out there or any other book published. Many years later, I can say that the love scenes which are so realistic and at the time caused quite a stir because they are descriptive in a way that wasn't done in books before then , got it exactly right. There is a trend in current romances that I have seen that go too far and sacrifice the romance of the story by inserting really gratuitous and vulgar sex scenes between characters that haven't known each other long enough to actual have any real feelings for each other. This book is not like that, and remembers that first and foremost, the love and romance is the most important part. I swear, some of the modern romances come pretty close to pornographic, at the expense of believable character development and a plot that is fully developed and carefully crafted. I enjoyed reading this again, and it's still one of my very favorites after all these years. It is not dated at all, being historical fiction. With everything I've said I hate to mention this, but someone needs to edit this e-version. Everything else is edited fine, but my copy is missing periods at the end of multiple sentences on almost every page. As the original novel had no such problem, it's got to be from when they formatted it to an e-version, but for some reason I haven't seen this mentioned in any other reviews.

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  • Posted February 22, 2014

    really enjoyed

    This was the first romance novel I ever read. It was given to me by a new neighbor about 30 years ago. I couldn't put it down then, so bought for my nook and reread it again last month. Still a very exciting book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Totally entertaining. Wish my man was so patient when I am spoiled and entitled, but Shanna came through like a champ. Sad when it ended.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    One of my favorite books.....Lots of action through  the end of

    One of my favorite books.....Lots of action through  the end of the book, never a dull moment. LOVE this book.....

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Highly recommended check it out if you love romance...

    I have read Shanna since it came out in paper back., and now I have Purchased it for my NOOK! I have read it many times & just love the storyline.

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    This was my very first romance novel.  It is absolutely my all t

    This was my very first romance novel.  It is absolutely my all time favorite.  A strong heroine, a determined hero, vivid scenery and passionate love scenes set the tone for ALL romance novels to come.  I fell in love with Ruark Beauchamp, and I read every Woodiwiss novel - even going back to her first -The Flame and The Flower.  Every now and then I re-read Shanna, and it has not lost its timeless appeal in almost 40 years.  I highly recommend readers purchase this book.  You will not be disappointed, and you will know why Woodiwiss become the Mother of Romance Novels.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    A Classic in Romance...

    Have read this too many times, lost count, over the past few decades. Never gets old.

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  • Posted May 3, 2013

    WOW!!! Great story!

    I enjoyed this story many years ago in paperback - but this is one that will be loved over and over again. The characters are developed perfectly and the story is wonderful. This is a must have, so I added it to my nook favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    I love this book!!!

    I read this book back in HS. My gram thought it to mature for me and hid it from me. But I found it.......WOW!!

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    My favorite of all. I read this book in the 70's and loved it t

    My favorite of all. I read this book in the 70's and loved it then. So glad I came back t read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    Loved it

    Favorite romance novel! I love many of her books but this one is the topper for me. Right from the start it gets you hooked... I love Shanna but I LOVE me some Ruark!!! Enjoy!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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