The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the Flower

by Kathleen E Woodiwiss

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380005253
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Series: Birmingham Family Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 75,997
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.02(d)

About 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.

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)

Table of Contents

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The Flame and the Flower 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 297 reviews.
Heather Hagert More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book on the first page. I can, and have read this book over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was utterly flawless. When I finished it, it felt like I had been holding my breath it was that exciting and good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book 3-4 times over the last 20 years. Woodiwiss is a great story teller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not well written, has unbelievable plot lines, has multiple characters who think womwn are simpletons, excuses rape, etc. In spite of all that it is oddly fascinating. According to wikipedia, this book, published 1972, changed the romance genre forever by introducing fairly steamy sex scenes, a full length format, and a complicated plot including murder, betrayal, travel over oceans, mistaken identities, blackmail, and virtually every other romance novel plot device you have come to know and love. The story starts off Cinderella fashion with the beautiful young girl being worked like a slave. Every time a woman is alone in this book...and I mean every time...someone tries to rape her, even in the middle of the day with other people near at hand. The first time she stabs the culprit. The next time it is the hero who is the culprit. After that our hero just rips the would be rapists off our heroine and pummels them. Well true love takes awhile because all plot devices have to be explored, plus there are all these would be rapists and murderers to dispatch. The author obviously has watched Gone with the Wind a million times. I swear a lot of the dialog is lifted directly from it...especially for Hatti and Heather. It is full of historical inaccuracies...but could be worse. My favorite character is the brother Jeff. He is the only one who seemed real. Overall I'm not going to read anymore in this series, but I might try more recent books by this author as this is her first and very rough. Of course I have a weakness for the preposterously dominant hero.....but hey..it's not real, thank God!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Not a plausible story.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I+have+read+this+book+around+50+times.++reread+every+year+or+so+now+.++the+book+that+started+me+reading.++I+will+co+tune+to+read+it++again+and+again.+
Anonymous 9 months ago
This was the first romance novel I read, and I immediately became hooked! I have, over the years, returned and reread this novel 20+ times since. One of my all time favorites!
LadyIsis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in 1975. I had just graduated high school and was looking for something to read. The story rocked my world becuase it was so different from anything I had read up to that point. I have read all of the books that Ms. Woodiwiss published and have loved all most all of them and enjoyed the rest. I will warn younger readers that this is one of those bodice rippers that became very popular in the 70's and 80's. While it is fairly mild in sexual content it was very racy at the time. I love the interaction of the characters as they learn to accept one another and come to terms with their new realities. I also enjoyed that Ms. Woodiwiss did her homework and provide and slice of history for all to enjoy as they read the book. This is a well written story that is worth the time.
jdquinlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rating: 0 Stars out of 5This was my first experience with a true "bodice ripper" and it will be my last. In the first chapter the heroine kills a man defending herself from attempted rape, runs for her life and ends up with the "hero" who then rapes her himself, repeatedly. And I don't mean a case of "your lips say no but your eyes say yes", I mean lips, eyes, fists and feet all say no. I didn't make it to chapter two. I skimmed a few pages here and there through the rest of the book. I actually found it very disturbing. Millions of copies of this book have been sold? Why?? There was a time when women actually found reading about rape-based relationships appealing?
pollytipsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
1st romance i read at about 15 i loved it
Bookish59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the first romance books I read in another life - LOL. Just the thought of books like these make me shudder. But I suppose at a certain age (adolescence) they serve a purpose.
Lostshadows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book off a 3 for a $1 table at a book store. I then got a ten percent discount on it. I still feel I over paid.The writing is abysmal. The "romance" starts off with the hero raping the heroine, and that's about as far as I got.
La-Plume on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yeah well, I think it's the first and last time I'll ever read a book by this author. The main girl is simply an empty shell. Apart from her beauty there's absolutely nothing to see - She sure loves clothes, she's sooooooo vain - and the main guy is completely laughable.This would put off anybody but since I wanted to read this book for the sake of knowledge - heard she "revolutionized" the romance genre with this one.I still had to know the end of the love story of a girl who was raped by a handsome man and who fell in love with him. We all would like to be raped, have a violent and authoritarian husband who would only be interested in "the curve of our bosom", "the curve of our thighs" and " the curve of our buttocks" and care only for our baby and our wonderful husband. After all, a woman is only good for weaving and making herself pretty. And Brandon is so generous, he doesn't care if she's stupid, she knows how to look with admiration at her husband and is good looking! He can boast everywhere the pretty thing is his, HA! Not to forget, he buys her CLOTHES! God! Women are so easy to please.I'm not even speaking about the way she speaks of slaves as "servants".I personally doubt Blacks looked in awe at the "generosity of their masters" and that their Masters' happiness was their happiness. Well there is Hati, the old Black governess, she's apparently treated like family and can express herself freely in the house EVEN if she disapproves of her master, she can even MAKE FUN of him OPENLY: Yeah well, I COMPLETELY BUY IT! If you set your story in 1799, please make it realistic, this is ridiculous!There's that very funny passage when Hati criticizes a white man who apparently had been living a rather depraved life, anyway in front of her master she says " White trash, that's what he is."Yeah right. One thing I know for sure, is that even the filthiest White was always less filthy than the most proper Black. And even if the "master" agreed, do you seriously believe he would have supported a Black saying that? Come On, get real! Let's say the story was set in the North, Northern People weren't that tolerant, they may have been against slavery, but still, Blacks are Blacks, Whites are Whites right? Cruelty's wrong, but still you have to keep them at their place.It was pure torture to finish that one. I would give that book an "A" and a "D" all together for "Abysmally Dreadful". Can't believe more than 2 million copies got sold when it first got out. Boring and completely superficial.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I have read by this author and I could read it again and again. I loved the plot and the love story as well as the main characters that were so entertaining. I was absorbed by the feelings of Heather and Brandon that seem to jump off the page to me.I have to put this at the top of my all-time favorite list.
tiilagum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read from Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I fell in love with it the first time I read it..
MsNikki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book when I first read it. I was in high school at the time, and thought it was the sexiest thing ever! Not to sure if I'd like it still, but I'd read it several times when I was younger.But if you just want to kick back and relax with a book, this would be a good pick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago