Book Review-The Flame and the Flower

Book Review-The Flame and the FlowerThe Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Series: Birmingham #1
Published by Harper Collins on March 17th 2009
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era, Nautical, Pirates, Civil War Era, Antebellum South
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
ISBN: 9780061743696
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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.


Heather Simmons once lived in London with her father, wearing nice clothes and always have plenty food to eat. But her father was deep in his grief for his late Irish wife, Heather’s mother. Now two years later, after losing him and being forced to come to live with her aunt and uncle, she now is their servant. All her belongings sold, except for one nice dress she isn’t allowed to wear unless her aunt deems it necessary. An aunt who has no friends and is very bitter and a shrew of a woman. But then circumstances change, and she heads to London with her aunt and her brother, whom tries to force himself on her, and so she defends herself, thinking that she has killed him, flees from the scene, and finds herself taken onto Captain Brandon Birmingham’s ship.

The Hero
Brandon Birmingham was raised in America, both of his parents gone, has lived a adventurous life, and ever since a lad has had a love for the sea. But he also has a love for the land, and for the plantation that his parent left for him. Now Brandon is engaged to be married to a woman from his home, and knows that this voyage to England is his last one before he settles down. While in harbor in London, a woman is brought to him for his pleasure, one who arouses his curiosity, she is what he least expected to find in a lone woman found on the docks. a beautiful woman who then escapes him. Brandon is stunned by her beauty, and wants her for himself so he goes searching for her himself. Now together, Heather unsettles him in a way no woman has done, and knows he could never live without her.

The Heroine:
Heather Simmons, lost both of her parents, and now is left to be a servant for her uncle and aunt. Having missed her old life with nice clothes and not having to work, now wears rags for clothing, and has to slave for her shrewish aunt. But then the unthinkable happens, and a series of events occur whereby she meets the handsome Captain Brandon Birmingham, who shows her the sensual pleasures of the bedchamber.  But through a chain of events she ends up married to him, and wonders what her life will be like, who is both a hard and gentle man, will there ever be love in their marriage…

My Thoughts:
The Flame and the Flower is the first in the first in the Birmingham series. I think it was back in High School since I have read this one, so it was wonderful to read such a story such as this once again. There were many things that I had forgotten about it, and bit and pieces that left me surprised and delighted at the same time. This is a story of two people that seem complete opposite from the very beginning, however throughout the story we see how love can heal and build a trust. I truly loved both of these characters, however what I didn;t like was Brandon’s character at the beginning of the book. But his edges got smoothed out throughout the rest of the book, so it was wonderful to see a change in this character. I found The Flame and the Flower to be a Sensational Romance which swept me off of my feet from beginning to end!!

About Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Kathleen Erin Hogg was born on June 3, 1939, in Alexandria, Louisiana, she was the youngest of eight siblings by Gladys (Coker) and Charles Wingrove Hogg, a disabled World War I veteran. She long relished creating original narratives, and by age 6 was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Eugene 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.

She 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 that created a literary precedent. The novel revolutionized mainstream publishing, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and impassioned sex scenes. 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, she 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 The Flame and the Flower 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.

She was an avid horse rider who at one time lived in a large home on 55 acres (220,000 m2) in Minnesota. After her husband's death in 1996, she moved back to Louisiana. She died in a hospital on July 6, 2007 in Princeton, Minnesota, aged 68, from cancer. She was survived by two sons, Sean and Heath, their wives, and numerous grandchildren. Her third son, Dorren, predeceased her.

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