I liked it OK... the story would've been great if it hadn't been for the way the protagonists got together in the very first. I was just never able to truly forgive the 'hero' for, in my opinion, rape. Not the she-doesn't-want-to-be-a-'bad'-girl-but-is-overcome-by-passion type of almost, but not quite, rape common to romance novels, but out-and-out rape. I just couldn't get past it; no amount of nice-guy-ness afterward could make up for it, and it ruined the story for me. I would've really liked it otherwise, so if you have a more forgiving nature than I evidently do, you might like it.
Lisa F. (lisaf) reviewed The Flame and the Flower (Birmingham, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
I first read this book as a teenager back in the 80's, and have read all of Woodisiss' novels. This was one of my favorites - but having just re-read it through the eyes of a 39 year old in 2009, it left me a little disturbed. The beginning is pretty harsh considering the misunderstanding that brings Heather and Brandon together, and you'll want to put the hero, Brandon through a wall during most of the book. He is arrogant, rude, and can't seem to acknowledge any wrongdoing or fault. A true jerk. I do believe it is historically accurate - though. These aren't modern characters and Woodiwiss does a good job of creating a story that is plausible for the characters given their place in history and societal norms of the time. I'm going to re-read the other two books in the Birmingham series and see if Brandon every truly redeems himself.
Didn't read past the first 40 pages. I could never like a protagonist who rapes the heroine, not once but twice. I was hoping after she explained her circumstances, he would straighten up, but it just didn't happen. Truly horrid. Will never read a book by her, ever.
I tried to read this book, but just could not get past the fact that the heroine was raped by the hero. I kept reading, hoping that he would apologize, but he didn't. Obviously at some point he becomes a good guy, but I couldn't make myself read long enough to get to that point.
I couldn't even get past the first bit of this book. The "hero" rapes the main character a couple times - really rapes, not the "I'm going to be won over by this handsome man eventually" seduction of an at first unwilling woman. I couldn't read past it. Maybe it gets better, but this type of story just doesn't interest me.
It was a page turner, but not in a good way. I wanted to see just how more jaw-droppingly offensive it could get. Still, I kept in mind that it was Exhibit A of the old skool bodice-ripper genre with a dirtbag Alpha Male hero & a TSTL doormat heroine. It was...interesting. I'll give it that. But not arousing or romantic in the slightest.
Heather is offered a chance to escape her aunt and go to finishing school in London. Upon arrival, she is attacked and accidentally kills the attacker. Running away she is caputed by sailors who take her to their captain. He soon learns she is not what he thought her to be.
In an age of great turmoil, the breathtaking romance of Heather Simmons and Captain Brandon Birmingham spans oceans and continents! Their stormy saga reaches the limits of human passion as we follow Heather's tumultuous journey from poverty... to her kidnapping at a squalid London dockside... to the splendor of Harthaven, the Carolina plantation where Brandon finally probes the depts of Heather's full womanhood!
"For the flame will surely come,
And burn, and blacken, and lay bare the hill.
But with the first sweet breath of spring
The shy and lovely flower will again show
Its face among the charred ruins.
It yields to the searing heat,
But with its persistent beauty
Far surpasses and finally tames the flame."
I absolutely LOVE this book. This was one of the historical romance books that I ever read. I will grant that some of the behaviors are out of date but I believe I stayed up all night to read and finish this book. This is a gem of a book.
I read this book back in the 70's when it first came out. It was really a fantastic book from what I remember. Im so glad that I've rediscovered it. And I also found The Wolf and the Dove. I believe a sequel to this book. So I just ordered The Flame and the Flower and I know I will enjoy it again as much as I enjoyed it back in the 70's.
The extraordinary Birmingham Family Saga commences in The Flame and the Flower -- it continues in The Elusive Flame and concludes in A Season Beyond a Kiss. 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 lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.
Fearing for her innocence, doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons commits a shocking and desperate acr.Now she must flee- and seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.
Captin Brandon Birmingham is a lusty adventurer married to the ea.Through courting scorn and serious peril throught his actions,he abducts the beautiful sapphire-eyed fugitive from the tumultuouse London dockside. For it is destiny that bring Heather to Brandon 's side ,and no power on Earth will force him to relinquish this exquisite prize. Only she can unlock the tendernes in his heart;and Brandon vows she will be his- to love and cherish ,to desire,and to carry off to far uncharted realms of sensuous passion...
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.
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.
I didn't read it. My sister gave it to me to read. She didn't say anything about it either, it was included in a bag she gave me. I don't read "heaving bosom" romances ;-)...I'm more of a murder mystery gal.