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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  6,202 ratings  ·  378 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 ta...more
ebook, 672 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 1977)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tammy Walton Grant
I've just re-read this one for the first time in recent memory -- it' still my all time favourite historical romance. BUT...I can sure see why so many people don't like Shanna. She's a spoiled b**ch and I would have slapped her silly before the end of part 1. And I don't quite understand why Ruark fell so deeply in love with her - she doesn't show many redeeming qualities until the last quarter of the book.

What I love about the book I think is the sweeping saga of it all. And Woodiwiss' writing....more
Barbara M.
First off to all of you who actually read this book and didn't skip, skim and go directly to the must have the patience of a preacher and you deserve to win the lottery =) I really did try to give this novel a fair shot, it did start off great, but holy moly there was just to much information for my taste (yes there is a such thing as too much plot). It just went on and on and on and on....(much like this review), so I'll do what Woodiwiss couldn't or wouldn't do and stop while I'm ahe...more
Lisa Kay
One day in 2027 Shanna will officially become a true “classic” in lieu of just a “bodice-ripper” or “historical-romance”. Until then, I will just have to refrain from tagging it as such for my personal GoodReads bookshelf. But, just so you know, it is one. A classic.

It is also the only historical romance book my husband ever listened to, against his will and with strong protestations, as read by me. We were going snow skiing, back in the days when we couldn’t afford to fly, and it was a 14 hour...more

The ending was the only blemish on my experience with this wonderful story.
(view spoiler)

I am the perfect reader for this book though, I must admit. I loved the flowery, lavender-hued prose and the abundance of detail in this rather lighthearted, adventure tale.

That's not to say there wasn't a fair amount of conflict, but it was the good kind in which an awful, naughty villainess-type character slowly comes undone by a wily an...more
Recommended to me as a romance novel classic, apparently there is a whole generation of romance novel readers that started out as pre-teens with this book as a fondly remembered introduction to the genre. Considering the ponderous length and wordy descriptions in the book I find it impressive that they were so engaged. I suppose it just goes to show, never underestimate the motivating power of a hot love scene. :)

The plot twists and turns and twists again! Ruark, the hero, is awesome. Very alpha...more
Andrea Smith
Woodiwiss is my all-time favorite author. Way back in the mid 1970's, I was introduced to my first 'gothic' romance novel that contained an alpha male. It was 'The Flame and the Flower.' It was the first book that gave my stomach butterflies; that I couldn't put down. Wikipedia states that this book that was officially published by Avon in 1972 "is credited with spawning the modern romance genre." All I know is that everyone wanted a 'Brandon Birmingham' in their bed - LOL!

That of course was f...more
My friend Matt Bowne's mom was really really into romance novels. Once when I was at his house, waiting for him to finish his chores, I asked her what she was reading. She said I wouldn't be interested, but I was no I was. It was Shanna, orange cover, and she said it was her favorite romance novel ever. So she let me borrow it and I was hooked. I read pulp romance novels my first year of college, and I still love them to this day. Where else can you read "wings of femininity" or someone getting...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
This one of those books I loved for the hero, and wanted to drop the heroine off a cliff. Back in the day, that was rare. Usually the heroes were jerks with a capital J, and I just wanted the heroine to get away from the hero and give a rude gesture as she walks away. I should reread this. It's a long book, though. Probably should finally read Outlander, first.
Shanna needs a husband or she'll be forced to marry someone her father chooses. She comes up with the idea of marrying a condemned prisoner. Then once he is hanged she'll be a widow in mourning and will have her freedom. But Ruark manages to cheat the hangman and finds himself an indentured servant, a bondsman to Shanna's father.
Ruark quickly becomes the most valued of bondsmen much to Shanna's chagrin. She cheated Ruark of his wedding night and he's determined she should pay him his due.

Maureen Feeney
Ruark is in prison waiting to be hanged for a murder he did not commit.Shanna has to marry or her father will choose her a husband. Desperate she propositions Ruark, marry her for a night of passion before he dies, this way she becomes a widow and is free. That is the first 80 or so pages. Then we have nearly 600 pages of a fast adventure, bondsmen(slaves),revenge, colonials, pirates, kidnapping, a couple of murders and love.

The story is brilliant and Ruark is the perfect to die for Hero. Shanna...more
This was my mom's favorite book- and since i was little she has always preached to me about how much i would love it and why it was brilliant. She loved it so much that by the time it got into my hands, it was worn and tattered-broken in half and pages taped in and taped back together-which made it a difficult read.
I found this to be true-this was my second Kathleen E.Woodiwiss novel-My first being The Flame and the Flower-which i loved, so i decided to tackle this 672 paged book-the largest amo...more
There are books full of jerk heroes who redeem themselves in the last pages and people simply love them because they are rude, arrogant, self-confident, whatever. So, I don't understand why so many people didn't like Shanna. She's that kind of person, with one difference: she's a young girl and not a 35 year old jerk hero. She's totally unexperienced and knows nothing about life. She's a scared girl who dreams with a man who's the opposite of Ruark, probably because she's not prepared for Ruark'...more
Sophie ♥

Urghhhhhh I'm not going read another 400 pages of this.
The first romance novel I ever read. I must have read it at least a dozen times over the years. KW set the standard for other romance novels to hold up to, in my opinion. Shanna is a spoiled only child who is given an ultimatum by her father--get married or he will find someone for her. So, she finds someone to marry--in prison. She chooses a condemned man to be her husband and he agrees but only if she promises him one night with her. They get married and her husband realizes she intends to ren...more
It breaks my heart that this was the 60th book I read of 2012, because it made me want to gouge my eyes out, but only after assassination of all the really inane, ridiculously "developed" characters in the book. This romance has so much love for it from fans who earnestly wax poetic about it so I was expecting a pretty entertaining read. But. Nooo... no entertaining for me happened while reading this. I ended up skipping ahead when I realized I had made little progress and they had already cross...more
Jaime Kramer
One of my facebook friends liked this book so I gave it a try.

I could not even finish it.

This is a romance novel. The main character, Shanna, has to find a husband by her 21st birthday, or her father will pick one for her. She ends up marrying and convict on death row. She plans to gain his name by marriage, and then lie to her dad by telling him that her husband died in a carriage accident. In exchange, she offered the prisoner one night with her.

The story sounded like it might be good, but t...more
Jan 21, 2009 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical romance lovers
Although beautifully written, this book seemed to drag on and the descriptions became redundant after the first 300 pages (667 pgs. total). The story is sweet and endearing but doesn't pick up until the very end. Many in the romance world would call this book a classic, but I feel that other books that Woodiwiss has written are better. If you like detailed and imaginative descirptions you will love this book.
Just finished reading this, and it was refreshingly different. The book was long, and at times, repetitive: all the characters, and the author, kept going on and on about Shanna's beauty that after awhile gets tedious. In the end, you ask yourself, if she hadn't been so beautiful, would the hero have loved her and done half the stuff he did for her anyways?

Moreover, Shanna was very annoying and shallow, and you think, all beauty and no brain, makes sense. And you don't think too highly of the h...more
Livia Bourne
Ok. I admit it. I'm rating this a 5 because this book changed my life when I was an impressionable teenager. It was the first racy romance novel I ever read and it influenced my life-long love of reading. I've read everything Kathleen wrote and I truly believe she paved the way for today's erotic romance novels with strong Alpha male heros. Having said that, I recently tried to reread Shanna and it certainly is harder to read today. I almost wish I hadn't reread because my memory had it as the p...more
All too predictable. Cat and Mouse romance. I expected more from Kathleen Woodiwiss who only produces a book every 4 years. I have read everything she has written. The Flame and the Flower as well as The Wolf and the Dove were two of the best smutty romance books I have read (in addition to Barbara Kingsolvers, A Prodigal Summer). Unfortunately, I am one of those people who believes it's a sin to start a book and not finish until the bitter end, constantly hoping that the author will redeem them...more
God bless my mother...this was the first "questionable" book I read. I think I was around 14 when it came out and in '78, 14 year olds did not read this type of "literature," yet she was of the mind that as long as I was reading, she wouldn't censor my choices. :) So, I rank it at 4 stars for a multitude of reasons...which may not necessarily be related to it's quality of writing.
Lucie "a heart so wild"
Maybe *Shanna* will be one of the only book that I will never ever forget...
It will be kept in my heart forever...
how I truly enjoy its beautiful romance ....
its high adventure...

I love this book, love and love it always...
Regan Walker
The Gold Standard for Historical Romance...and more!

This was my first by the queen of the modern historical romance novel, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and it won't be my last. I highly recommend this one. I must be the last to discover this wonderful writer, but I'm glad I did.

Set in mid 18th century London, the Caribbean and Virginia (the colonies), Shanna tells the story of the strong willed Shanna Trahern, the only daughter of a successful British merchant who has retired with his wealth to his Carib...more
This was one of those books I read a loooooonnnnnnggggg time ago, and remember enjoying immensely. And I still liked the story a lot. Shanna is an unforgettable romance heroine, and Ruark is one of the dreamiest heros ever to grace the pages of any book. The premise is great, and the plot unfolds in a way that kept me turning pages. The setting and time period really came alive for me. It goes without saying that the author is an exceptionally successful writer, and you don't attain that status...more
What should I say about this book? It took my breath away!! And not only sometimes, but continuously!

It is the first novel I read written by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and, boy, am I not glad that this is the case! I loved this book completely and from every aspect. The novel is cleverly poetic, heartbreakingly romantic, pleasantly mysterious, rightly sophisticated, and beautifully embellished.

It is written for events taking place during the mid 18th century, and so the writing is older English style....more
By the shelves I have selected this book to be listed under, you may think I don't like this book. It's true I was most frustrated for about half the book as it seemed to be repetitive. Shanna, the annoying spoilt heroine, was just too immature for my liking. Constantly fighting the Hero, Ruark, who is nothing but nice to her and always jumping to conclusions. She constantly betrayed him in my eyes. It wasn't until she stopped fighting (approxiamately half way) that I enjoyed the book.
Yes, it w...more
Nancy Brady
Read this one ages ago, but still recall the historical romance of a daughter who marries a man who is to be hanged just to appease her father's expectations that she be married. Trouble ensues when she finds out that he is now working on her father's plantation. Now technically shackled to a man she doesn't really know she tries to make the best of it. Does love develop between them, and how does she explain the whole mess to all? A hot sultry island is the setting for this hotter historical ro...more
Epic story! Shanna's father, a wealthy rum magnate, gives the beauty an ultimatum - find and marry a man of impeccable lineage in a year or he'll marry her off to the man of his choice. The year's end is drawing near - what is a picky miss to do? Crafy, she hatches a plan to fool her father, but finds herself in even more hot water. Oh, and there are pirates in the Caribbean - lots of fun! Woodiwiss seems to take some inspiration from fairy tales or Shakespearean tales as the base for her novels...more
Erin Kyle
Woodiwiss is an absolute master.

I love Ruark; I endure Shanna. More often than not, I wanted to punch Shanna in the face. She kind of seems like a total shrew. I mean how many different names can she call the poor man? She's uppity and awful and pretentious and presumptuous. But I endure her because I love Ruark.

And their story is pretty fantastical, I suppose. It's the most outlandish of the Woodiwiss bunch, I think. (Which is awesome.)

Definite re-read. Love this love.
A very long Love Story with Sparkling beginning - a bit slow/dragging in the middle - Remarkable in Pirate's Isle - and extremely wonderful end.

An epic story about determination of love from the Hero toward the self-centered Heroine. But this is love at the first site, what can you say?

What is the most unforgetable about this book? Its the Hero, Ruark Beauchamp...He is adorable

I recommend this book to women who love historical romance novels.
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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
More about Kathleen E. Woodiwiss...
The Wolf and the Dove The Flame and the Flower A Rose in Winter Ashes in the Wind Come Love a Stranger

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“It was terrible of you," Shanna pouted, but her eyes danced as they turned askance to meet his. "I could have left, you know. I was that angry."
"I would have followed you," Ruark assured with a flash of white teeth. "You have my heart and my baby. You would not have escaped.”
“Then take it all! Take my life! What care I now that the wench is gone! Damn her! Damn her fickle heart! Ah, man, I hate her! Fickle wife! She taunts me, seduces me, cajoles me, flees me, leaves me wanting her all the more. Have I no more will of my own?"

His voice broke, and he sobbed, hiding his face behind an arm flung across it. Shanna's throat tightened, and there was no ease for the ache in her breat. With tears of her own gathering in her eyes she tried to hush him. He heard none of her pleas, but lifted his hands and held them before his eyes, turning them, staring at them as if he had never seen them before.

"But still - I love her. I could take my freedom and fly - but she holds me bound to her." His hands became limp fists which slowly crumpled to his sides as he groaned listlessly. "I cannot stay. I cannot leave." His eyes closed, and swiftly the moment was gone.

Choking on a sob, Shanna bowed her head in abject misery.”
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