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30 May 2011

The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

This Is The Way A Sweeping Romance Is Done.........

Product DetailsAlthough a Lady, Heather Simmons exists as little more than a servant in her Uncle & Aunt's home after her father's death leaves her an orphan.  When conniving Aunt Fanny sends her to London with her lecherous brother, Heather's freedom, and possibly her life, are forfeit, and what appears to be a cruel twist of fate thrusts Lady Heather into the arms of Captain Brandon Birmingham, a dark and dangerous adventurer from the Americas.  This encounter sparks a chain of events that sweep Heather to the North American continent and into a love affair that is both passionate and frightening, as her own dark secret threatens her chances at keeping the happiness she discovers, and her life.

Published in 1972, The Flame and the Flower is a classic example of great romance.  Kathleen E. Woodiwiss writes a searing romance within a grand, sweeping story, beginning in 1799.  Woodiwiss' hero and heroine are so much more than the too-often two-dimensional characters crafted in novels meant to elicit three dimensional images in readers' minds, and the deepness of personality the author created had this Broad feasting on the story and cheering Heather and Brandon toward claiming the love before them.  Delving into the thoughts of her main characters, Woodiwiss bares their fictitious souls to her audience beautifully, writing with rich, meaty language sure to satisfy those who seek a romantic adventure. 

Definitely 'old-school', The Flame and the Flower delivers an alpha male all the way in Captain Birmingham, and a strong, smart heroine in Lady Heather Simmons.  I stumbled across this title while reading Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan.  It appeared on the Bitches' top ten list, and thereby made it onto my TBR pile.  I'm certainly glad it did.  This Broad is daring to give all four stars today.  Thank you Kathleen E. Woodiwiss for reminding me why I love romance novels so very much.

~ Moira

01 May 2011

Ascension, Caris Roane

An Ascension That Detours To A Let Down.......

Ascension, by Caris Roane has an interesting story idea at its heart, and this Broad applauds the author's creativity in her nicely placed setting and insertion of 'ascended' dimensions as it added a fresh flavor to the vampire themed novel.
The chapters are introduced with poetic proverbs, using language rich in meaning, but that beauty of language is noticeably absent once within the chapters themselves.  The 'ascended' beings of Roane's creation leave much to be desired.  Bureaucratic injustice reigns on the fictitious 'Second Earth' as a handful of warriors battle the evil forces that seek to enslave and destroy the modern world.  Under their 'Supreme Ascendiate', the warriors lose ground nightly.  Enter Allison Wells, the most powerful human ever known to begin the process of ascension.  Both sides want her loyalty, and the warrior Kerrick is charged with her safe keeping as she undergoes her transformation amid danger and drama.

It is not necessarily the romance that fails in Roane's novel.  Allison is quite a likable character and Kerrick has all the right ingredients any good hero needs.  Cringe worthy dialogue and a never ending stream of adolescent-like thoughts are the stakes which drain the life out of Ascension.  Discussions between the warriors resemble something one might expect to hear from pubescent boys with utterances of, "Give," when answering a call to, "Can you spell 'reamed' ?", when describing an encounter with what is supposed to be a revered leader.  Their leader, Endelle, is portrayed as a tactless, eccentric bitch who possesses great power, wielding it high-handedly over her loyal subjects while concurrently running her domain with gross incompetence, having to ask her newly ascended follower, "Who the hell are you?"  Add in a local establishment awfully named 'The Blood And Bite' where ascended warriors drink heavily and the ever repeating mantras, "I can't deny the overwhelming attraction I feel," and "I can never allow myself to give in to my feelings," and you have Ascension in a nutshell.
~ Moira


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