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Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Sunday, March 19, 2006


Book Description
Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret -- as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress . . . in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure.
In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken -- as a sensuous free-spirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna's. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion . . . and no hangman's noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his.
Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret -- as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress. . .in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure.
In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken -- as a sensuous free-sirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined ewith his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna's. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion. . .and no hangman's noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his.


Oh Shanna, Shanna Shanna. With such high hopes for this book, I can't tell you how much it pains me to say that this book was sooo disappointing. After reading the book description, I was very intrigued. But sadly, everything in that description happened within the first 200 pages of the book. The next 400 pages were just a nightmare.

Let's begin with the heroine, Shanna Trahern. You'd think because the book was named after her, she would be so awesome. Nope. Not even close. Shanna was the spoiled but beautiful daughter of Orlin Trahern, Governor of Los Camellos Island. She was basically the woman every man wanted but could never have, and Shanna knew this. She married a convict so that she could tell her father she got married, but not have to actually be married for long since her husband would soon die. When this plan backfired, Shanna became so upset and just kept complaining for the rest of the book. She finally caved in and slept with Ruark to "fulfill their bargain" but she wished to remain a "widow" after that. You idiot, how can you be a widow when your husband is still alive? So she basically refused to acknowledge their marriage throughout the whole book. That is until she thought Ruark slept with another woman. Shanna went balistic, saying he wasn't honoring their vows. Are you f*cking kidding me?? Ugh, sooo frustrating. Shanna just kept kicking Ruark over and over again. And the times she wilfully went to him, were times when SHE wanted to sleep with him. And...she didn't admit she loved him until... oh I dunno...page 500 or so!!!

Now let's go to Ruark Beauchamp. I've read in many reviews that women believe he's the extreme alpha male, a classic example of the perfect hero you can fall in love with. I think... he had the POTENTIAL of becoming a great hero, but I lost all respect for him for always crawling back to Shanna. Ruark had a weakness that all men have, sexual appetite. Only his case was to the extreme. No matter how much Shanna hurt him, this foolio would always find a way to forgive her and speak romantic words to her, only because he was always lusting after her. What an idiot, he KNEW she was bad news yet still could not control his physical urges to take her every time she "allowed" it. I read one review online that summed up Ruark really well....

A prime example of this lies in Chapter 3, where (when I still had hope) Ruark says oh-so-romantically, "You are a flower, surely, madam, but yonder thorn pricks me sorely...you are a rose begging to be plucked...but then there is the one who tends the garden and knows no prodding of the thorns. With careful hands...gently breaks the stem...'tis his forevermore." That's when Shanna tells him his wit is lagging, he's a rogue and a rude knave, and then figuratively kicks him in the stones yet again. This behavior continues through at least Chapter 10, and wasn't showing any sign of letting up.

I don't know how Ruark was able to put up with a brat like Shanna. Beyond her physical appearance, there was nothing that would make me believe realistically a man like Ruark would fall in love with her.

Okay so we covered the two main characters, there's just one more thing I want to point out about this book. The writing and story. Okay, I understand this was written in 1977 or so, so I know back then these "bodice ripper" type of books were flowery and overly descriptive. But it DID NOT need to be 666 pages. I feel like I've wasted so much time reading something that could've easily been 300 pages MAX. The middle story is about Shanna and Ruark getting kidnapped by pirates (no thanks to Shanna who fed Ruark to the wolves after she THOUGHT Ruark cheated on her) Yah good job genius. The middle section is all about their stay together, trying to escape the pirates. You'd think Ruark's saving Shanna's life, not to mention stopping her from being raped by the pirates would make her do her "turnaround" you often see in other romance plots. Nope, Woodiwiss decides to make her even more stubborn to admit SHE doesn't deserve Ruark. The book even has a fold out map of Los Camellos Island! How silly is that?? And the whole time they are keeping their marriage a secret because Shanna is worried her father might have a fit of rage if he finds out that she married a convicted man. Hello Shanna!! Can't you see that not only does Ruark work for your father now as his FAVORED bondsman, but also that your father repeatedly shows how he treats Ruark as his equal?? It's no wonder that in the end Orlin was happy with the news that they were married, not angry as Shanna feared. Ugh, all that sneaking around for nothing.

The writing just plain frustrated me. All the love scenes were either too flowery or just not descriptive enough! So many love scenes just kind of faded away, like the reader is supposed to imagine the rest. That's like watching a movie and just when it's getting good, having it fade to black! Ugh...soooo frustrating. It was just not romantic to read any of those scenes. I felt like Shanna was so selfish that the love scenes were almost painful to read.

Overall I give this 1 star. That one star is about the first 100 pages, and the last 100 pages. I didn't laugh, I didn't cry, I didn't feel like "I couldn't put this one down!" This might be my first and last Kathleen Woodiwiss book.
posted by Daphne @ 11:03 PM  
4 Comments:
  • At 12:22 AM, Blogger Holly said…

    Dude! I am SOOOOOO glad I didn't read that book. LOL

    I think her books have the potential to be good, except they just go on and on and on! Like you said, 300 pages max would be perfect.

    Thanks for the heads up, Sweets. I'll be sure to avoid this one! ;)

     
  • At 4:58 PM, Blogger Dylan said…

    That's it, I'm seriously chucking all of my KW books, I have a few and have never read them, after reading this review, yep...I'm chucking them!

    Good review though sweets!

     
  • At 5:51 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I disagree immensely this is a GREAT book. I love Shanna the character beneath all the brattyness ther lies a whole lot of endearing qualities. Ruark is every women's dream and has integrity and lasting power to wait for Shanna to come to her senses. The love scenes are so passionate and done so elegantly. I especially like the whole pirate part. It's so exciting to see this brat of a women turn into an elegent loving partner to Ruark. She finally sees him for who he is. I bought the book back in the 70's and have read it at least 15 x's and love it every time. So give shanna a chance. I also wish they made a movie out of it

     
  • At 5:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I disagree immensely this is a GREAT book. I love Shanna the character beneath all the brattyness ther lies a whole lot of endearing qualities. Ruark is every women's dream and has integrity and lasting power to wait for Shanna to come to her senses. The love scenes are so passionate and done so elegantly. I especially like the whole pirate part. It's so exciting to see this brat of a women turn into an elegent loving partner to Ruark. She finally sees him for who he is. I bought the book back in the 70's and have read it at least 15 x's and love it every time. So give shanna a chance. I also wish they made a movie out of it

     
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