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Book Reviews of Shanna

Shanna
Shanna
Author: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
ISBN-13: 9780380385881
ISBN-10: 0380385880
Publication Date: 8/1/1978
Pages: 672
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 188

3.9 stars, based on 188 ratings
Publisher: Avon
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

27 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

rubberducky avatar reviewed Shanna on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
I can't help it. It's old, it's outdated, it's chock-full of screaming purple prose, but I love it. I first read this book when I was 17 years old and romance novels of its type were the new big thing. Back then, it was almost unheard of for the hero & heroine to bother getting married before they had sex, so this was actually a somewhat refreshing change. Since then, I've re-read Shanna too many times to count, and it still resides on my keeper shelf, next to my other all-time Woodiwiss favorite, Ashes in the Wind. For anyone who hasn't read it, I highly recommend doing so at least once.

As briefly as possible (and there's a lot to summarize here): Spoiled, beautiful, rich brat (Shanna - the terror) meets gorgeous, honorable, and courageous Mr. Wonderful (Ruark) - but there's a problem: He's condemned to die for a murder he didn't commit, and she's in his prison cell asking him to marry her and save her from the threat of an arranged marriage, soon to be forced on her by her supposedly unreasonable & tyrannical father (yeah right - he's really a cream puff at heart). In exchange, she promises to ease his last days with decent food and a few material comforts... oh, and to consummate the marriage. He's very taken with her right away and agrees for pretty much that reason alone. Although she feels guilty about it later, she (in typical spoiled little rich brat fashion) backs out on the second part of the deal. Ruark gets a little (very little) bit of satisfaction out of it however; he manages to take her virginity in the carriage before she can deliver him back to his gaoler.
Shanna sheds a few guilty tears when the scheduled execution date passes, but still goes whistling right back home to daddy, a newly made widow, under no obligation to marry. Unbeknownst to her however, Mr. Wonderful isn't dead. Technically he's still a condemned man, but the greedy & dishonest overseer of Shanna's father's plantation purchased him from an equally greedy gaoler, and now Ruark is Daddy's new (and soon highly valued) bondsman, and boy, is he upset with his little woman...

I cannot tell a lie, the push/pull factor in this story goes on seemingly forever, until Shanna finally does a lot of soul-searching and growing up, and realizes just exactly what she has in her formerly unwanted hubby. Frankly, if I didn't already have a long-term sentimental attachment to this book, I'm not sure if it could live up to my current standards for a highly recommended romance. It takes Shanna a long time to put away her childish fantasies and see Ruark for the hero he really is, and the spoiled, little rich girl routine becomes a little grating at times. HOWEVER, it's still a classic, and even by today's standards, it is a very sweet love story - IF you're able to forgive reformed brats, and watch them stroll off into the sunset with heroes who are probably too good for them, that is. And on the upside, the external plot is full of action and high adventure, and shows great attention to historical detail by the author. I'll always love it - most especially Ruark Beauchamp, my all-time favorite historical romance hero. He's what made me fall in love with the romance genre in the first place, and the yardstick I have subsequently measured all other romance heroes by. I very highly recommend it. It's a widespread sentimental favorite, old-school romance, and was actually pretty ground breaking and awfully darned cool for its time.
pamelap avatar reviewed Shanna on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Awesome! one of the best romance novels of all time
Wildflower avatar reviewed Shanna on + 126 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is the most-read book in my collection of books read. I reread it once a year. Shanna, the main character is headstrong, stubborn, spoiled, and raised to a life of priviledge. Shanna's father gives her a marriage ultimatum and Shanna tricks her father by going to the gallows in England to find her husband who will soon die and she can go home with his fine name attached to hers, a single woman. Story goes from England, to Carribean Islands, to the New World. Excellent story! Ruarke, Shanna's love interest in the book, is my idea of a perfect man.
Wildwing avatar reviewed Shanna on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Possibly THE single finest historical romance of all time. The first I ever read and the one I use to measure others by. Woodiwiss sweeps you into her world and doesn't let you go until the last word on the final page.
reviewed Shanna on + 145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Rather than let her father marry her off, Shanna Trahern finds a condemned man with an aristocratic name to wed. He'll go off to the gallows, and she'll be a carefree widow. But the devishly clever Ruark Beauchamp thwarts her plan by escaping his death, only to turn up as a foreman on her father's estate, and even worse, he wants to claim marital privileges!
scoutmomskf avatar reviewed Shanna on + 2533 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a long overdue reread of an oldie but goodie. Shanna is more than just a classic historical romance; it is also an adventure story that goes from Newgate Prison to a Caribbean island to a pirate island and finally to the wilderness of the Colony of Virginia. The descriptions are rich with detail, making it easy to visualize each scene, and the characters are vividly portrayed.

Shanna is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who owns an island in the Caribbean. He sends her to London each year in hopes that she finds a titled husband, but each year she returns unwed. This year he gave her an ultimatum - find a husband, or he will find one for her. Unwilling to bow to his dictates, Shanna buys time to find the man she wants by marrying a man condemned to die.

Ruark is in prison for a murder he is sure he didn't commit but expects to die for. When Shanna makes her proposal to him, that in exchange for his name, she will ensure his final days are more comfortable, he counters with a requirement of his own. He will marry her, but she must grant him a wedding night.

In this first part of the book, Shanna is a spoiled brat, as well as being somewhat naïve. She makes promises to Ruark that she has no intention of keeping. Her attitude is arrogant, and she certainly looks down on him. She begins to sense that she has bitten off more than she can chew when she meets the "cleaned up" Ruark for the wedding. Ruark has understandably looked forward to the marriage and the aftermath and is in a cheerful, flirty mood throughout the wedding. There are sparks between them, though Shanna doesn't recognize the attraction for what it is. I loved Ruark's teasing and gentleness and couldn't help thinking about how lucky Shanna was. I was furious with the way she double-crossed Ruark and understood his fury. It was interesting to see how Shanna tried to justify her actions in her mind, but there was that niggling sense of guilt that gave me hope for her. She thinks she has it made because of his scheduled hanging, but Fate has other plans. It was an interesting plot twist that had Ruark avoiding the hangman and ending up bound for her home as a bondservant.

Once she reaches Los Camellos, the story picks up. Ruark, now going by the name John Ruark, is satisfied to be so close to Shanna, making it easier to plot his revenge. He is a smart and talented man and quickly makes himself indispensable to his employer. Shanna gets quite a shock the first time she sees him and realizes that she is not a widow after all and that her husband is determined to claim what he is owed. I loved watching his persistent actions as he gets closer to Shanna's father, and therefore closer to her. He also takes every opportunity to fan the sparks of attraction between them, until Shanna is desperate to stop him. She finally realizes that the only way is to pay her debt in full. That scene is romantic and steamy and opens her eyes to what is possible between a man and a woman. But the strength of those feelings also scares her, and she tries unsuccessfully to stay away. By this time, Ruark is head over heels for her, but can't make any headway in getting her to admit her feelings. She may claim that she doesn't want him, but certainly demonstrates a great deal of jealousy when she thinks he is with someone else. Her hotheaded behavior leads her into another rash action that has Ruark kidnapped and turned over to a pirate ship.

This is one of the most exciting parts of the book, as Ruark does what he must to stay alive. He tries to hedge his bets with the pirates, but it backfires and ends up with the pirates attacking the island and taking Shanna captive. I loved his quick mind as he found a way to bring her under his protection while preserving his cover with the pirates. Of course, Shanna is just as willful and stubborn as ever and nearly succeeds in getting them both killed. His confrontation with the pirate captain was intense, but the outcome was never really in doubt. He also knew that he had to get them away from the pirate island as soon as possible. I loved the unexpected help they received, and the escape was a real nail-biter. I was worried that Shanna was going to stand back and let him take the blame, but she did finally come through in the end. Her experiences on the pirate island opened her eyes, and she began to see just how spoiled and selfish she had been. I liked seeing the changes as they happened, and Ruark's reaction to them. He was understandably wary, but also hopeful.

A complication during this period was the presence of an Englishman, Sir Gaylord Billingsly, who is looking for financing for a shipyard his family owns. He is quite supercilious and has set his sights on marrying Shanna. He is a parasite of the worst sort and rapidly wears out his welcome as far as Shanna is concerned. There were some very satisfying moments when she finds ways to make her displeasure known. She doesn't know, however, that he has joined forces with Ralston, who has promised his help for a piece of Shanna's dowry. There are some devious and dangerous plans underway that could put a permanent end to Ruark's marriage to Shanna. There is also a visit from a sailing ship out of Virginia, where its captain is very interested in the story of Shanna's marriage. He also tells stories about life and opportunities in the colonies and invites the Traherns to visit them there.

My favorite part of the book is the visit to Virginia. Shanna and Ruark have come to an understanding, but she hasn't quite made that final leap. It was great fun to watch Shanna watch Ruark in his natural element of the Virginia wilderness. At last, she accepts what her heart has known all along, but there are still a few surprises in store for her. I enjoyed her growing appreciation for the land, and her acceptance by the family they visit makes her feel even more at home. There were some hilarious moments involving Ruark and various family members that all came home to roost with the arrival of one of the sisters. I ached a little for Shanna as the entire truth came out, as she felt foolish, but Ruark soon convinced her of the truth of his feelings. The excitement isn't over, however, as the murder charge against him rears its head once more, thanks to outside interference. There is more to the story still as the actual murderer uses Shanna as a hostage to attempt to escape. The final confrontation was a nail-biter, as Shanna's calm confidence in Ruark's rescue of her drives her kidnapper over the edge. The end to that was very satisfying, with nothing left but to tie up loose ends. I loved the epilogue and the surprise that Mr. Trahern received one morning at church.

Though Shanna spent a good bit of time on the disliked side of the tally sheet during the book, I enjoyed seeing the growth of her character. It wasn't fast, and it wasn't easy, but it was believable. On the other hand, I loved Ruark from the beginning. He is an honorable man, and that honor plays out again and again throughout the book. I loved his patience and persistence in winning Shanna.
reviewed Shanna on + 14 more book reviews
great historical romantic novel
reviewed Shanna on + 11 more book reviews
One of my favorite books. I have read the copy I have a time too many the book is coming apart and pages are missing. It really needs to go in the recycle bin.
emmey43 avatar reviewed Shanna on + 105 more book reviews
Great Story, On my Keeper Shelf
reviewed Shanna on
This is absolutely my favorite fictional book I've ever read. I read it every few months and I'm sad when it ends. Ruark (the hero) is perfect in every way and Shanna is lovable, despite her flaws.
redmama87 avatar reviewed Shanna on
This book had potential.When I read the synopsis I was intrigued,but sadly it fell flat for me. Too much descriptions of things that didn't matter.Boring and awful.
reviewed Shanna on + 147 more book reviews
The incomparable romance of beautiful, aristocratic Shanna Trahern and dashing Ruark Beauchamp-the man who escaped a hangman's knot and traveled to the ends of the earth to possess her.
Another great novel of Kathleen Woodiwiss.
Different cover, but same book.
reviewed Shanna on + 210 more book reviews
A blazing novel of eternal love
reviewed Shanna on + 40 more book reviews
This was one of my favorite romance books of all times. I've read it several times and I still remember the title 10 years after I first picked it up. It is a long read, though, so be prepared to enjoy it for a while!
reviewed Shanna on + 612 more book reviews
I completely loved this book and I reccomend it to anyone.
reviewed Shanna on + 3389 more book reviews
Woodiwiss spreads magic - this was an excellent book I shall not forget.
reviewed Shanna on + 10 more book reviews
i loved the book espescially the fricton between hero and heroine
reviewed Shanna on + 42 more book reviews
Definitely a good book. The female character was a fiery one, with so much gusto. And the male character, his charm was lovely. He put up with so much and never gave up on her.
reviewed Shanna on + 113 more book reviews
From the back of the book, an exquisite beauty in desperate need A condemned man with nothing to loseA magnificent tale of freedom and passionate destiny from the incomparable storyteller Kathleen E. Woodwiss.
reviewed Shanna on + 18 more book reviews
"The incomparable romance of beautiful, aristocratic Shanna Trahern and dashing Ruark Beauchamp--the man who escaped a hangman's knot and traveled to the ends of the earth to possess her."
reviewed Shanna on + 5 more book reviews
A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free... and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion. And no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy that is rightfully his. Only posting this because I have two copies of it. Great story and great supporting characters.
reviewed Shanna on + 380 more book reviews
A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleded pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion and no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy that is rightfully his.
MelanieGG avatar reviewed Shanna on + 9 more book reviews
Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret--as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress . . . in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure.
reviewed Shanna on + 99 more book reviews
Shanna - a woman with surging desires of the spirit, the flesh,and the heart
RUARK - a man burning to possess her in vengeance and in ecstacy.
Shanna - a romance of passion beyond wildest dreams
welshwytch avatar reviewed Shanna on + 89 more book reviews
This book is an incomparable romance of beautiful, aristocratic Shanna Trahern and dashing Ruark Beauchamp- the man who escaped a hangman's knot and traveled to the ends of the earth to possess her.
icesk8tr avatar reviewed Shanna on + 363 more book reviews
Sensuous free spirit Shanna Trahern takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise - leaving the dashing condemned Ruark Beauchamp to the gallows of Newgate Prison. But no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy of his true love. An exquisite beauty in desperate need...A condemned man with nothing left to lose... A magnificent tale of freedom and passionate destiny from the incomparable storyteller - Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret--as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress...in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure. In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken--as a sensuous free-spirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna's. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion...and no hangman's noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his. Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret--as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress...in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure. In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken--as a sensuous free-sirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined ewith his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna's. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion...and no hangman's noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his.

I really enjoyed this book!
reviewed Shanna on + 17 more book reviews
This is a classic. I liked it very much. It is one of my daughter's favorites and is in her permanent collection. She has read it several times. A little different story line.