3.0 out of 5 stars
The Elusive Flame... a little too elusive for me!, 11 May 2011
What is excellent about Woodiwiss' novels is that they are essentially timeless and perfect for escapism... a reader must therefore understand that the stories and characters are not going to be accurate presentations of 'real life' -it's just about losing yourself in an alternative universe!
I have read almost all of her books and have to comment that this one (ELUSIVE FLAME) is not her best... Ceryise and Beau are lovely -a little too lovely actually -and there are never any real 3-dimensional conversations between the two... it's just passion and lust. which is fine, but sometimes when the historical background is lacking a bit you want the characters to step up to the mark, and unfortunately, they don't. I would recommend that you read Woodiwiss' first novel -FLAME AND THE FLOWER because it is the prequel to ELUSIVE FLAME and much better. ELUSIVE FLAME lacks her usual spice for historical research/portrayal and I found Ceryise a bit tedious at times.
If you like novels that have lots of adventure, beautiful historical description and strong characters I would strongly recommend ASHES IN THE WIND (for a real meaty read with fun scenes), SHANNA -(because Ruark is possibly the best of Woodiwiss' heroes and Shanna herself is brilliant), WOLF & THE DOVE (for a bloody saxon vs norman romance), A ROSE IN WINTER (a bit predictable but Christopher is worth it) and FLAME AND THE FLOWER (because it is the better version of ELUSIVE FLAME) - in that order.
Give these ones a try before you read others of her more recent works, simply because the first lot are the best and Woodiwiss seems to become slightly repetitive in her story-lines the more books she wrote. A wonderful author -but her best ideas were at the beginning in her first five masterpieces!