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62 Reviews
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinarily brave, passionate and exciting romance.
I am amazed that this was Woodiwiss's first novel. What a courageous debut!
To begin reading what is seemingly going to be a formulaic love story and to be confronted by a rape scene within chapters begs the reader to examine the characters in this book in a lot more depth than is usually required in this genre.
Woodiwiss continues to shock throughout this...
Published on 11 Dec 2001 by Loupop

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can't Feel The Sensuality For The Burdensome Purple Prose
The Flame and the Flower is sometimes held up as an example
of the best of the romance genre. It is recommended to
aspiring romance authors for its supposedly devastating
levels of sensuality. To an extent, I would have to agree
that Woodiwiss' work does successfully convey a certain,
stomach-turning kind of sensuality. Unfortunately, that...
Published on 14 July 1996


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinarily brave, passionate and exciting romance., 11 Dec 2001
By 
I am amazed that this was Woodiwiss's first novel. What a courageous debut!
To begin reading what is seemingly going to be a formulaic love story and to be confronted by a rape scene within chapters begs the reader to examine the characters in this book in a lot more depth than is usually required in this genre.
Woodiwiss continues to shock throughout this novel, with her meek, childlike heroine, her bullying, arrogant, over-bearing hero and her picturesque stereo-types of negro servants, once the story arrives in America.
Having said all this, you can not fail to simply love this story. The true romance lies in the growth of the characters and how they are forced, particularly in Brandon's case, to allow themselves to love and be loved without fearing the outcome.
Heather's character, though sweet and innocent, possesses an untold strength in her ability to survive even the worst treatment and rise above it without resentment or bitterness.
Brandon is truly a man's man, unused to showing any vulnerability or tenderness until he meets Heather and even then consistently fights against his true feelings.
Woodiwiss's strength as a writer lies in her ability to write a powerful story with strong memorable characters who stay true to their natures throughout. I have yet to come across another romantic author who can write so convincingly in the guise of a male character.
Wonderful!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best romance novel ever written, 23 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This is the first historical novel I ever read. I was in the fifth grade, and I used it in one of my bok reports. (My teacher was a little put out, but who cares? this book was incredible!) It was fascinating. Two people trying to deny their love for one another because of a gross misunderstanding and miscommunication---FANTASTIC!!! Who hasn't been there? The tension between Heather and Brandon was wonderfully written and believable. The love scenes were tasteful and still erotic. The adventure and suspense was wonderful. This novel had everything in it, romance, light comedy, suspense, adventure, deceit, and a happy ending. The perfect combination for any romantic at heart. I have bought three copies of The Flame and the Flower because it is my all-time favorite and I re-read it so much. It is unforgettable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes shocking, but still a love story, 1 Jun 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
"The Flame and the Flower" by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss is the story of a sad young girl who due to the twists of fate will go through numerous tragic events in her life, yet still didn't give up her search for love.
The book that, although sometimes difficult to read, is a work that audience would love.

The novel's heroine Heather Simmons who remained without anything after her father died is taken by her uncle and violent aunt named Fanny.
Given all the physical and emotional abuse that she will go through with her foster parents, Heather will be forced to run away and end up in the ship's cabin of Brandon Birmingham on his boat Fleetwood.

Brandon will accidentally replace her for a prostitute and will sexually exploit her, and when she will become pregnant he will be forced to marry her.

And though their story at the beginning doesn't look fabulous, in the rest of the novel they two will gradually reveal mutual feelings, learn to trust each other even though their past and their surroundings don't do anything to help them ...

Heather, main character of this novel, isn't the typical heroine that are usually found in novels of this kind, strong and determined , but due to all the terrible things she has experienced in his youth she is filled with fear, with no confidence in herself and in others.

On the other hand, Brandon is totally opposed character that doesn't evoke reader's sympathy. He wants everything under his control, when he extremely hurt Heather only thing he is able to do is to offer her becoming his mistress even though she doesn't want to, but as the action progresses, his character and his feelings for Heather will change.

What is likely to be very impressive even shocking for most readers are scenes of violence that are not common in this type of literature, but it seems that the author deliberately done that in order to show the width of the suffering Heather experienced.

Therefore, this sometimes disturbing, yet at its heart still a love story, from the author who has written several well-accepted romances, can be recommended to all lovers of romantic literature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired, 30 Nov 2004
This book sparked my love for reading. I was 14-years-old and it was summer vacation and I was bored to tears. My mother handed me the book and said, "Here, read this...I think you're old enough now." I hated reading before this book!!! After reading it, I knew I would name my son Brandon if I ever had one. Guess what? My son's name is Brandon and his twin sister is named Breonna, Heather's middle name (spelled differently). I've been an avid reader ever since this book! Thank you Kathleen Woodiwiss for opening up a whole new world for me. By the way, I'm 42 now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start, bit boring in the end, 17 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Flame and the Flower (Birmingham) (Kindle Edition)
I found the beginning of this book really good, it had more grit and a more compelling story, however the book went down hill rapidly and the characters lost their charisma, the last few chapters of the book where quite frankly drawn out and boring. A shame as it had so much promise in the begining.

Even though the end is poor I would still recommend reading for a bit of adventure and romance
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance!!! You'll like it, I'm sure of it =), 12 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Okay, so I wasn't that thrilled with the first two chapters...I thought they were pretty boring, and I just couldn't get into them. BUT, as I continued reading, slowly but surely, the characters developed, and so did my interest in the book. The soliloquys could be a bit much at times and a little distracting, but in a way, they added to the flavor and uniqeness of the novel. A fresh idea, or something that seemed out of the ordinary to me, was Brandon's almost year-long celibacy. This is rare in romance novels and refreshing, because the ultimate moment when Heather and Brandon make love is looked forward to. (in other words, there are not abundant sex scenes) When I finished the book, I missed the characters, just as I always do with books I enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can't Feel The Sensuality For The Burdensome Purple Prose, 14 July 1996
By A Customer
The Flame and the Flower is sometimes held up as an example
of the best of the romance genre. It is recommended to
aspiring romance authors for its supposedly devastating
levels of sensuality. To an extent, I would have to agree
that Woodiwiss' work does successfully convey a certain,
stomach-turning kind of sensuality. Unfortunately, that is
about all good I can say about this brick of a book. We
are presented with a pluckless heroine and a conceited
hero, neither of whom seem to develop too much more than
the barest personality throughout the book. I did not like
the repeated objectification of the heroine, nor did I
like the message that outer beauty could compensate for
lack of personhood. Perhaps my greatest quarrel are the
numerous grammatical errors which bullet the text. I was never
so caught up in the romance to miss them. Lines such as,
"'Ssh,' he shushed" and "Please,' she pleaded" are fairly
typical of the insipid dialogue. Yes, the genre has come
a long way since this book was published in 1972. Yet it
is still available on bookshelves for purchase in 1996; is
it speaking well for the genre?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm really grateful that romances are no longer like this!, 12 Jan 1999
By A Customer
First of all, let me say that I love historical romance novels, and I don't stereotype them as bountiful-bosom, bare-chested heaving bodice rippers. However, this unfortunate novel lives up to this stereotype--at least the sections I managed to plough through.
The first problem is the purple prose. I'm no grammarian, but the constant abuse of the comma and the liberal use of adjectives started to irritate me about 10 pages in. However, the story was still passable, so I forged on. Then I discovered that the villains are so ugly, they are practically deformed--a cliche I could have done without. I mean, an obese, abusive aunt I can buy, but please, an overweight, lecherous, DROOLING uncle (brother to the aunt)? And the uncle's shop assistant (another villain) is actually hunchbacked, filthy and has a facial deformity. Puh-leeze!
The bit that takes the cake, however, is the fact that the hero has raped the heroine twice--and this is barely fifty pages into the book. What disturbs me the most, however, is the hero's apparent lack of feeling over this act of brutality. The first time I could almost understand, given the fact that he thought the heroine was a prostitute and that her struggles were love-play. But the second time around, he KNOWS she was a virgin and terrified of him, and he does it anyway! Later, when the heroine explains her awful situation, the hero makes light of it and offers to set the poor girl up as his mistress.
At this point, I couldn't read any longer. I had lost all respect for the hero--in fact, I hated him. I mean, I know about the sexual double standards of the time period the book is set in, but really, not even an apology? I think forcing yourself twice in a row on a 17-year old girl merits at least that... But I can even understand not apologizing for reasons of masculine pride or sheer pigheadedness or whatever. It's the lack of internal remorse that finally forced me to chuck this book aside. Fine, the hero is a tall, dark piece of hunka-hunka burnin' love, but the implication that it's OK for him to do what he did because he's good looking and not an overweight, ugly lech disturbs me even more.
Thank God I only borrowed this book from the library. I'm also really glad that rape scenarios have largely disappeared from modern romances. However, it frightens me that this book is held up as a classic of modern romance writing and a must-read for all romance lovers. I think it's books like The Flame and The Flower that create and perpetuate the unfair stereotype of romance novels as mindless bodice rippers that demean women.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT!, 12 Aug 1998
By A Customer
I'm not sure what madness drove me to pick up this book in the first place. About all I can say is that Woodiwiss had me laughing all the way through with her prentious style and play at literature. A snivelling heroine and a stuck-up hero do not electricity generate. I know my opinion won't be real popular around here, and that's fine. Someone needs to be the voice of dissent.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, just awful...., 2 Nov 1998
By A Customer
If it is possible to give a book no stars I would've, as it is, I have to settle for the lowest rating possible. I had to force myself to finish the book - a rare thing for this particular romantic nut. There are no characters to speak of. The heroine is the most spineless, whiny, cowardly idiot to ever grace the pages of a romantic novel. Her only positive attribute, if you can call it that, is her stunning beauty and supposed "softness". The hero is worse. He not only rapes the heroine repeatedly, but also emotionally and verbally abuses her. The style of the author is pretentious and clumsy - the common soliloquays awkward to say the least. The prose often just do not flow and/or interrupted by embarrassing grammatical errors and cliches. Ms Woodiwiss' descriptive skills are weak - 430 pages later I still do not know what the heroine looks like except she has blue eyes and is very very beautiful. The same goes for the hero - a bland and characterless specimen of masculine splendour. The pale main characters are indicative of the supporting cast - each a cliche, one dimensional and lack development. There's the faithful valet, the abusive and ugly aunt, the mad and disfigured villain, and the spiteful rejectee. In fact, Louisa, the female antagonist, is possibly the only character in this novel with some character. At least she stood up for what she wanted, planned and fought for what she considered hers and had a believable motive for each of her actions. Like most of the readers below, I will treasure and keep this book - not because I adore it and it's drunkard hero, but to serve as a constant reminder to myself and my students how NOT to write.
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The Flame and the Flower (Birmingham)
The Flame and the Flower (Birmingham) by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
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