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Petals on the River

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  3,744 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
A proud and spirited woman whose life was stolen from her. . .A man of secrets accused of a terrible crime. . .In a place of new beginnings their destinies are joined—in a gloriously romantic new work from the incomparable storyteller.

The fiery and outspoken adopted daughter of one of England's most formidable a women, Shemaine O'Hearn has made powerful enemies. And now he
ebook, 560 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1997)
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Jul 25, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while I haven't had so much trouble getting into a book as I did with Petals on the River. The fact that this romance exceeds 500 pages wasn't very encouraging, either. But because it's Woodiwiss, I ploughed on and waited for the magic to happen. Wise decision! I didn't regret it.

But before I explain why in more details, once again let me add a little context for my friends who might be new to romance. First of all, while people often like to mention Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer as
2,5 étoiles

J'ai bien aimé dans l'ensemble, mais j'ai trouvé que l'histoire d'amour était trop longue à démarrer (view spoiler) et qu'il manquait de passion. De plus, même si Gage a toujours été bon envers Shemaine, elle accepte un peu trop facilement sa condition d'esclave pour une fille qui a toujours eu une existence privilégiée. J'ai par contre adoré le passage avec la famille de Ruark, le héros de Shanna.
Recently NPR compiled a list of top one hundred romance novels. They posted a side article explaining why some books were intentionally left off that list. I could not believe they left Kathleen E. Woodiwiss off the list, deliberately, siting her work as no longer relative for today's reader, but included other authors on the list whose books were every bit as controversial, and at least once featured beatings, forced seduction and rape.

While I admit I understand how the list was compiled, afte
Lynsey A
This is one of my favorite Woodiwiss novels, although, I have many favorites by her. The fact that Shemaine and Gage don't spend the entire book hating each other is very refreshing. It's a good read and emotional.
Lover of Romance
When Shemaine O Hearn finds herself engaged, and falling in love with a wonderful man she thinks nothing could go wrong, everything is going right, but she has one person that doesn't approve of the match, his grandmother. So before Shemaine knows it, she has been falsely accused of thievery and is sent to America and sold into servitude for seven years. The ride on the ship was hard enough and she doesn't know what is in her future. Then she is surprised when she is sold to a Gage Thornton, who ...more
Oleta Blaylock
May 09, 2011 Oleta Blaylock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another very good book by a master story teller that is no longer with us. The story is set in colonial Virginia when indentured servants were sent to colonies to clear out the prisons of England. The story follows Shemaine, a rich young lady, whe has been framed for a crime she didn't commit. She decides she has a better chance of surviving as an indentured servant than staying in Newgate. She has already had several attempts to her life while find bars. Ms. Woodiwiss shows the harshnes ...more
Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill
It hurts my heart to give this book three stars because Kathleen Woodiwiss is my all-time favorite author. Hands down! I love her and she can do no wrong.

But this sort of pushed the envelope. The story dragged a lot toward the end and it became monotonous and cumbersome to read it. Gage and Shemaine were ga-ga over each other. I got that. I also got that Gage was a boob man.

The story was rolling along okay and then dragged and then suddenly all of these characters started showing up and they s
Jun 24, 2008 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book caught my attention years ago on the library shelves, but until now I'd never check it out. It's an old-fashion romance novel set during the colonial times of America. And by old-fashion I mean the hero and heroine are practically perfect in every way, from their looks to their modern thinking despite the times.

The heroine is Shemaine O'Hearn, an ultra-beautiful 18-year-old who has been unjustly convicted of crime in England and sent to the colonies on a prison ship to be sold as an i
ETA: Ya, know - I just realized I listened to an abridged version, which definitely may account for my issues with lack of tension and easy resolutions. Think I'll check out the unabridged some day. Hopefully before I die I'll get through all my to-reads


I normally avoid Woodiwiss' later novels, which is sad, because I loved her early ones. This was okay. I have no real issues with it, but there was no tension. The plot of the h being bought as an indentured servent by the H has so much pot
Kay Smith
Mar 28, 2013 Kay Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woodiwiss is a talented author. But if you aren't aware of the burgeoning social pressures of the clash between the historical colonial age and a regency-dominated old-world during the 1740s; the situations and scenarios are going to send you into a new world tizzy.

The writing is elegant, the characters are unique in that during the discourse of the book they all evolve and shape into unique individuals. While this book may be classified by many as being bland and unassuming; when viewed as a wh
When outspoken Shemaine O’Hearn arrives in America her life is far from the privileged one she held back in England. Wrongly accused by her enemies and now an indentured servant to a man with a shadowy past, Shemaine needs to escape her confides and return to the life she knows. Gage Thorton was in need of a nanny but Shemaine was not what he was expecting nor did he expect the desire that came with her.

Once again Woodiwiss does not disappoint in this enigmatic tale of conspiracies and attempted
Mar 27, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dark and dank holds of a criminal vessel holds the scum of Europe. Being shipped off to the colonies to be purchased as bondslaves. Among the thieves and murderers is Shemaine O'Hearn. A firery young woman with hair to match. Innocent of the crimes she was sentanced for, She is bought by (of course) the most handsom man in the colonies, what ensues is high adventure unequalled by their love (of course again)and marriage. Shemaines life is threatened by several, the little hamlet Newporte New ...more
Jul 06, 2016 bdalli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marion Marchetto
When Shemaine O'Hearn is kidnapped at the behest of her fiance's grandmother and subsequently tried and convicted of thievery, she opts for indentured servitude rather than spend her life in Newgate Prison. She survives the cross-Atlantic trip aboard the London Pride but makes a few enemies along the way. When the ship reaches port, the captain has arranged to have Shemaine set up as his mistress and keep her for himself - her flaming red tresses having caught his eye. But when a hefty purchase ...more
Zahrah ❥ (Seduced by dem heartbreakers) ❥
As per Woodiwiss' specialty, Petals on the River dates back to earlier romance where you have a long prose with lots of details. The author captures the range of human emotion and has a flair for details.

Shemaine O'Hearn is has been mistakenly labeled a criminal and as such has been sent to the colonies as a bondservant. She is lovely, feisty, young and Irish. Upon arriving in the colonies, rugged widower Gage Thornton purchases Shemaine as a nursemaid and tutor for his young son. Shemaine is b
Lucy Ibn al-Rashid

I’m starting to see that with Miss Woodiwiss, it’s either a bullseye or a complete miss, as it is the case with this book.

Petals On The River disappointed me at several levels and that’s why I rated this one
with mere 2 stars.

First of all, the length of the book was one of the major flaws.

I don’t feel like the book had to be so long to tell the story of our heroine, Shemaine O’Hearn and how she constantly found herself in serious trouble.

In fact, I would have thought the same thing if the book ha
This is my first Kathleen Woodiwiss. Maybe I shouldn't have started with this one, but I picked it up at Goodwill for 50 cents and the plot seemed pretty wackadoodle crazy. And it is! It's crazy and sweet and romantic and also really uninteresting. Ms. Woodiwiss created an intricate story mostly populated with really good looking dullards and ugly bad guys. The characters are so flat, I imagined them as paper dolls held up by giant hands, hopping in place talking to each other with weird cartoon ...more
Kathryn M Guffey
Romance and Fidelity / A great combination

Kathleen Woodiwiss is my favorite Romance writer. While her books have romance and passion in them, they are not bed hoppers where everyone is hopping from one bed to another with no morals or values as a lot of the romance writers are notorious for doing. If I wanted to read pornography then I would seek that venue. Her books are a quality of reading that is hard to find. She has threads of humor and suspense throughout that peaks and holds your interes
Jul 02, 2014 Davion rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ive read this book twice, when I was 17 and now that I'm an 23. Now that I'm a bit more involved in the world, my rating for this book has gone down from 5 to 3. These characters are pretty much perfect in looks and thinking. This book has no real conflict between the two---it doesn't seem real to me now. One is a servant and the other is her master is pretty much the main conflict until they get married except for outside characters. There are a few minor conflicts, but I already knew that they ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romance lovers
I enjoyed this one a lot. The story of a woman sold into bondage and finds love will make you believe in the power of love.
Vicky Beltz
Dec 25, 2012 Vicky Beltz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great love story.
This one was fun to read because it has a bit of mystery. Actually it is a bit of a murder mystery. But the main focus is the lovers of course.
She is an educated gentle lady forced into a type of slavery, somewhat saved by an honorable man who just needs someone to care for his son, that's the general gist anyway.
I will point out that realistically this wouldn't happen. She would probably be taken to a large city and sold into a high end brothel or made to be someone permanent mistress. Just say
Sep 01, 2014 Misty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kathleen Woodiwiss wrote the definition of Enchanting when she wrote this book. I adored it.

Shemaine O'Hearn a well off young Irish lady is kidnapped and falsely accused of a crime. Because of this she is sent on a ship to America with other female criminals. Shemaine at first worries as she knows once there she and the other women would be sold as Bond Slaves. She is relieved however when young Gage Thornton purchases her as a Nanny and Teacher for his young son.

Gage goes against all advice an
ms bookjunkie
2011: Oy. They still have that awful, awful back blurb. It's bad enough as it is, even without the glaring mistakes. 1) Shemaine isn't adopted 2) her mother isn't especially formidable, as in "one of England's most formidable women".

Anyway, this is one of my Absolutely Favorite Books EVAH, and I felt the need for a reread…so I ordered a new copy because my old one is packed away… far, far away. Shh! Let's not tell anyone I did that. (And I totally would've bought my second copy in ebook format,
Regan Walker
A Sweet Story, But Not The Best of Woodiwiss

Kathleen Woodiwiss wrote some of the finest historical romances in the genre, beginning in 1972 with her first, THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER, that sold over 2.5 million copies, but there was a period from 1984-2002 when what she wrote fell short of her own standard of excellence. Oh the writing is still good but sometimes the stories dragged a bit and the plot was not as exciting or as intriguing as the rest. I've listed her novels below with an "*" behind
Dec 11, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just learned the century old lesson of "Don't judge a book by its cover". I've had "Petals on The River" in my to read pile for months and just kept skipping over it! I do have to say it's a weird read, but a good one. This author has a way of pulling you in while you're wondering why you're still reading this drawn out and a little over the top story. Don't misunderstand me this was a really good book, but I swear if I'd heard Gage call Shemaine "bondslave" one more time I was going to scr ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I haven't read a Kathleen Woodiwiss book in over twenty, maybe thirty, years but remembered how much I liked her books. I saw this book in a garage sale box but didn't read it right away. I'm really happy I picked it off my bookshelf and you should find a copy for yourself. It's a true love story with lots of suspense and intrigue. Set in colonial days, a young women from England is wrongly accused of a crime and chooses to be sent on a slave ship to the colonies. She is bough ...more
I really liked the store but all the "olden talk" as it were, bothered me. It interrupted the flow of reading, unfortunately. A romance novel is not historically accurate anyway so I'd rather just enjoy the story without ye olds all the time. Unfortunately they cost the story a star but it is still one that I would read again!
May 09, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book... Granted the heroine is one of those "sickeningly good" women...I mean, being falsely convicted and going to the colonies would cause at least some bitterness...the stoic resignation is a bit unbelievable . I enjoyed the plot though and the characters as well. Lots of matches made among them, which made me smile...
Jaime Ashley
Nov 01, 2014 Jaime Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-love
GREAT book, one I'll definitely be reading again. Read BEFORE Shanna, as it introduces the Beauchamps(Nathaniel, Charlotte, Gabrielle, Garland and Ruark) before Ruark and Garland find their future spouses.

Also, the description says Shemaine is adopted.... She's not, she is the biological child of both her parents.
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Kathleen Erin Hogg was born on June 3, 1939, in Alexandria, Louisiana, she was the youngest of eight siblings by Gladys (Coker) and Charles Wingrove Hogg, a disabled World War I veteran. She long relished creating original narratives, and by age 6 was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Eugene Woodiwiss at a dance, ...more
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