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The Elusive Flame Hardcover – Large Print, December, 1998

199 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cerynise Kendall's beloved elderly sponsor dies unexpectedly, leaving Cerynise to deal with the woman's heir, Alistair Winthrop. As much as she dislikes Alistair--a difficult man to say the least--even Cerynise hadn't expected him to evict her from her home, which he does without a second thought. Cerynise makes her way to the London docks and finds that fortune has smiled upon her, for a ship captained by a childhood friend, Beau Birmingham, is in port. Beau remembers Cerynise very well and is determined to return her to her uncle's home in the Carolinas. But when Alistair appears and demands that Cerynise be turned over to him as his ward, Beau swiftly arranges a wedding and the two enter into an agreed marriage of convenience. Beau is well aware that he's committed himself to several months of torture, for he wants the lovely Cerynise with a driving passion that threatens to consume him. For Cerynise, the pretend marriage is both heaven and hell. Though she desperately loves Beau, she's sure that his love of the sea leaves no room for a real marriage. Upon reaching Charleston, both Beau and Cerynise believe that they've left trouble far behind, but Alistair is not yet finished with this unsuspecting young woman who stands between him and a fortune. Simmering with passion, The Elusive Flame is classic Woodiwiss. --Lois Faye Dyer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Romance novelist Woodiwiss's sequel to her perennial bestseller The Flame and the Flower (1972) continues the story of Heather and Brandon Birmingham's son, Beauregard. Set in 1825 England and the Carolinas, it's a bit more politically correct than the earlier book. Notorious for beginning her stories with the rape of the heroine by the hero, Woodiwiss nods to current sensibilities by having the heroine almost raped by the hero, but here Beau is excused because he's feverish and delirious, and also because plucky Cerynise Edlyn Kendall doesn't seem to mind the experience. Beau's a dashing sea captain (as was his sire, Brandon), and Cerynise is an orphan thrown out on the mean London streets by the villain who usurped her guardian's wealth. (Readers will remember that Beau's mother, Heather, was also an orphan thrown out on the London streets.) In standard Woodiwiss form, the hero and heroine, though burning with lust for each other, are separated by willfulness and misunderstanding. Cerynise's pregnancy brings hot hunk Beau to heel, and they wed?an almost mirror image of Brandon and Heather's relationship. A vicious pair of London villains and an equally vicious trio of villains in Charleston add a new twist to the story and allow Woodiwiss to invent a melodramatic climax in a storm-buffeted house. The prose is stilted, the plot hackneyed and both dialogue and settings pay little attention to historical accuracy.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 653 pages
  • Publisher: Wheeler Pub Inc; BCE edition (December 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568956924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568956923
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,617,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With more than thirty-six million copies of her bestselling novels already in print, Kathleen E. Woodiwiess remains one of America's most successful and beloved storytellers. She is the author of twelve enormously successful masterworks of romantic fiction, including The Flame and the Flower, Shanna, Ashes in the Wind, Petals on the River, and The Elusive Flame.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Condit on December 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really love Kathleen's books. I first read "The Flame and the Flower" twenty years ago and I have reread it so many times that I've had to buy four books! I've read all of her books and loved everyone of them. This book was great. I was so happy to find out what had happened to Brandon and Heather. The only thing I didn't like was that this book came out before "A Season Beyond a Kiss" which is Jeff's(Brandon's brother) story. The love scenes in this book are as hot and sensual as all of her other books. Beau is a wonderful hero just like his father. And Cerynise is just strong enough to handle him yet appear shy and fragile at the same time. Buy this book and reread it again and again.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Flame & the Flower is my favorite romance novel of all time, having read it at least 15 times, and I always hoped the author would write a sequel about this fascinating family. Twenty-five years later I got my wish with The Elusive Flame. I didn't care that it focused on Beau as an adult. I knew that Woodiwiss, with her great writing style, would do something with this character and create a great storyline. But, disappointingly, something fell short. After reading it through, all I could think of was that I wished she had done things differently. The beginning of the book starts out good, with the usual evil relative leaving Cerynise destitute. You have to feel sympathy for the heroine, and you do with her, but I just couldn't believe that she always loved Beau, and I couldn't believe that Beau would be so quick to marry her just to help her in a bind and then fall just as quickly in love with her. Perhaps if the author had written a prologue of when Cerynise and Beau were younger, writing in more detail about the times when she teased him in class, when he rescued her from bullies and others that picked on her, and the moments when she would ride with him on his horse, then we could believe that these two people were meant for each other. Once they admit their true feelings to each other, the story goes flat. How many times can you read about their tremendous devotion and their acts of lovemaking that reach incredible heights without getting bored? The best thing about a romance novel is the tension, the separation and the range of feelings leading up to the realization of love, and Woodiwiss gets them together too fast, leaving the reader nowhere to go. I wish that Beau had another woman in his life.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mandy on June 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My mother has always been a fan of Kathleen Woodiwiss and has tried, unsuccessfully, my whole life to get me to read and enjoy her books. I've tried, "Shanna," "The Wolf and the Dove," and all the others, but never could get into them. However, when my mom bought her copy of "The Elusive Flame" I figured I'd try to again read "The Flame and The Flower" because I tend to like series. I wasn't dissapointed. "The Flame and The Flower" was excellent and by the time I finished "The Elusive Flame" I found myself digging all the other Woodiwiss novels out and planning to read them. I've read some of the other bland reviews of "The Elusive Flame" and wonder, did you all read the same book I did? The characters were *not* one demensional, they were very much like Brandon and Heather. You'd expect Beau to be like his father, which he is and you'd expect him to fall for someone like his mother -- which he did. Cerynise is a lot like Heather in so many ways, the only difference being that Cerynise is a little more outspoken. All in all, it was a great read and one I'll visit many times in the future. I anxiously await the next book in the sage that began with Heather and Bradon. Thank you, Ms. Woodiwiss for an excellent book and a great group of characters!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LadyT on January 19, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Make that 3.5 stars. Although this book isn't as good as some of the vintage Woodiwiss books, it was still better than I expected, and thus, I enjoyed it. It starts off with interesting events - the death of Cerynise's guardian and unexpected arrival of her guardian's heir, Alistair. He doesn't particularly care for Cerynise and he makes no secret of that fact. Before she knows it, she's thrown out on the streets with no money and nowhere to go. Deciding her only choice is to return home to the states, Cerynise heads for the docks. Barely making it to the docks, she is rescued by Beau, a man she knew from her childhood. They enter into a hasty and temporary marriage as a means of keeping Alistair from taking her back as his ward.
During the long voyage to Charleston, Cerynise falls hopelessly in love with Beau. But because the marriage is only temporary, they both try not to give in to temptation and consummate the marriage -- and there's a lot of temptation. By the time they reach Charleston, both are in turmoil about the direction their relationship should take, and unbeknownst to them, Alistair is hot on their trail bringing with him the threat of death, and the destruction of their shaky relationship. To make matters worse, Beau is a much sought after and very wealthy bachelor whose family home is in Charleston. Upon their return, women pose another threat to Cerynise and her shaky marriage as they try to ensnare Beau for themselves.
While the Elusive Flame doesn't make the reader pant and sigh with emotion as much as some of Ms. Woodiwiss' earlier romance novels, it nonetheless delivers enough romance to hold your attention. The story has elements of danger, adventure, suspense, a little mystery, and a lot of jealousy - which adds a nice bit of spice.
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