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Petals on the River
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Petals on the River

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,414 ratings  ·  168 reviews
The fiery and outspoken adopted daughter of one of England's most formidable women, Shemaine O'Hearn has made powerful enemies. And now her adversaries have found a way to remove the hot-blooded beauty from her life of privilege: by falsely convicting Shemaine of thievery and sending her in shackles to America, where she is to be sold in indentured servitude to the highest ...more
Paperback, 554 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  4,414 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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How to write a Kathleen Woodiwiss novel.

1. Introduce the female lead who is usually strong in a soft feminine way and unearthly beautiful

She can be really skinny, really curvy, be top heavy or bottom heavy. Her beauty will be amplified by the fact that her romantic rival will be the opposite of her. She must be in some kind of trouble. A trouble where her future husband will intervene.

In this case, Shemaine was on a prison ship bound for the colonies of Newportes Newes to be sold to the highest
Jul 25, 2012 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
Oct 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Nope. Just. I just can't do it anymore. I'm 300 pages into this monster and I just can't keep reading. Nice hero, nice heroine, even a cute kid and I just don't care. Though that may have something to do with the fact that I'm 300 pages in and still nothing is really happening. (But when you write with such flowery, redundant language, I guess you're probably not getting anywhere anytime soon.)

This might scrape together a two-star rating if I could bring myself to finish it, but...nope. Not gonn
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
4.5 Stars

Good gracious, I’ve never read a book where I wanted someone’s luck to turn around so so so so so so so badly! Ugh! This book had me on roller coaster with the story line! I thought angsty storylines could drive me bananas and hook me in to the point where I’m yelling at the characters -but oh NOOOOO... this was even more torturous feeling, but in a good way.
1.) The heroine & hero had the worst of the situations. However, the other characters didn’t fair much better!
2.) this takes
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
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oleta Blaylock
May 06, 2011 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
Chanel Sharp
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, historical, romance, old
What a delightful treat. Mom and I loved the detail put into the book. The pacing is beautiful. Sometimes we are dealing with high pace antics of the villains and other times we are sitting in the cabin dealing with day to day problems. It was just so fun and relaxing to read. Mom likes reading about the mundane.
The heroine Shemaine is full of great morals and will not turn her back on someone in need. Watching her take on the many antagonist in the book was a delight. To add to her 3 demension
Ellen Shannon
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. This is my first time that I have read this author and can't wait to read some more of her work. The story had a few twists that I did not see coming.

Shemaine O'Hearn is a falsely accused convict on her way to the American colonies to become an indentured servant. Gage Thornton is a master carpenter and shipbuilder who is looking for someone to take care of his home and child. Gage buys Shemaine on the ship saving her from far worst situations. Shemaine discovers som
Lucy Qhuay
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
Jun 24, 2008 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 rated it really liked it
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 17, 2010 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
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Petals on the River surprised me. Negatively. I cannot remember the last time I read such a bad book. And the astonishment was even greater knowing this was written by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. The characters are very plain, with little backbone. As soon as one offers a marriage, the other confesses her true and eternal love. Things that should have developed longer happened too fast. The plot twists are very weird and the motives for them even worse. I didn't enjoy this book. I found way too many ...more
Tammy Walton Grant
My first clunker by Kathleen Woodiwiss. No tension, no sizzle, no steam, no will they/won't they?. Just a hero who is a really nice guy who buys a bondslave who turns out to be (gasp) a really nice girl. She cooks like a chef (though she said she didn't know how) she does laundry, she's a wonderful babysitter, she was wrongfully convicted! B-O-R-I-N-G. (Sorry, KEW).
Dec 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was just terrible. I felt compelled to finish it because I received it as part of book exchange with my online book club. The only redeeming quality was that it was set in Colonial Virginia, and I could clearly picture Williamsburg, the James River, and a few other points of setting. I should mention I don't normally read romances... and this one happened to be extra long and wordy.
Lin S.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I last read her books when I was young and naive and actually thought/hoped men could feel this way. Two husbands/jerks later the reality is probably not. For those who may have this however...Hold On Tight! He would be a rare bird.
There were times when the story was just dragging.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A lot of fluff, but the story wasn't half bad.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Predictable but entertaining. Mostly read because it was set in Newport News, VA - my birthplace.
Dec 14, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great love story.
Cyn Mistress Kitty
Love this story. Such a sweet historical love story. Shemaine and Gage are such a wonderful couple and little Andrew steals the show.
Suzie Quint
Oct 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I couldn't finish this. The heroine was so unbelievable perfect that I found her unbelievably boring.
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A good romance book. A little heavy on the detail and a little slow but a good read overall.
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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