The Elusive Flame

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Author
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Author Avon Books $14 (428p) ISBN 978-0-380-76655-0
Reviewed on: 12/01/1970
Release date: 12/01/1961
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. (Sept.)
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