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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on March 31, 2001
The romance in this book was sweet and passionate, and this could have been a perfect romance novel if only...I am a great lover of flowery, pink and purple prose, But Woodiwiss took it a little too far in some parts (in my opinion). If she had cut out a few descriptions of the scenery and added in a few more passionate love scenes, I think it would have improved the book quite a bit.Another problem I had was that Woodiwiss included too much of her research in with the story. About 5,000 words all dealing with history and politics could have been been cut out of the novel without affecting the story.Once again, her villains are stereotyped and typical.I wish someone would sit down with this author and teach her how to weave romance and intrigue together! Once again, the main characters declare their love for one another much too soon and the resolution of the mystery came so late in the story I no longer was interested. I just wanted the story to end!!!! The resolution was just too contrived, in my opinion. COME ON, all of the little mysteries just can't lead to one source! It's too Nancy Drewish, too unrealistic even for a romance novel.I really liked the characters, even if Alaina's stubborn pride was too overdone. (If she really appreciated Cole's generosity why would she embarass him by wearing tattered clothing?) But she was clever and fun. And Cole *sigh* what a man... and a doctor too! This story had so much potential and enough tenderness to be worth reading. So, inspite of the problems I do recommend it!( I wonder if Ms. Woodiwiss would consider hiring me as a personal editor? Hee hee...)
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on September 2, 2000
If you have read the forty something reviews you can tell this is still such a popular book after over twenty years. Ms. Woodiwiss is still writing wonderful books even now. But this still remains one of my favorites. Everybody has gushed, but nobody told anything about the let me try..
The book is set during the aftermath of the Civil War. The Southerners are trying to put the lives back together. There is still hatred and bitterness on both sides. Most people would not dream of marrying anybody on the opposite side.
Alaina MacGarren flees from her Southern home after it is ravaged by Yankee troops. She travels up North to stay with her relatives. In order to escape notice, she dresses like a ragged boy. She stays with aunt and uncle and cousin Roberta & keeps up her boyish appearance in order to work in the Yankee hospital, where she meets Yankee Captain Doctor Cole Latimer. He takes pity on "Al." Roberta takes a shine for the handsome doctor & tricks him into marriage. During this whole long situation, this very bright man, doesn't happen to notice Al is really Alaina.
Needless to say, the relationship between Al and Cole deepens and things change as his marriage to Roberts goes downhill. I won't go into any more spoilers here. Cole and Al/Alania are very strong- willed people used to getting their own way. So it is a battle to the end; but a very interesting battle, to say the least.
Suffice it to say, this is one of the most famous historical romances ever. Anybody who has read romance has read "Ashes in the Wind" and "Shanna."
Ms. Woodiwiss is one of the founders of the modern romance. Read this wonderful book and find out why.
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on July 9, 2002
wOw. This is one of KEW's best books. I LOVED it. She so artfully ties historical facts into the love story that you can almost be there, and all of her research is correct. She is such a talented author, writing classics like, The Flame and the Flower, Shanna, A Rose in Winter, ect. I disagree with people who say that Alaina was too stubborn or that the story was too long or that so many little mysteries tied into one was a bit unreal. Alaina had been through so much, and I found "Al" funny and fresh. The book isn't too long in my opinion, and I was sad when I had finished it. I never would have suspected the ending. The way KEW ties it all into one is wonderful, and I really enjoyed this book. Ms. Woodiwiss never ceases to amaze me. I highly recomend this book to any romance fan or, really, to anyone who loves to read. I love this book, and I will come back to read it again and again.
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on January 10, 2008
While this is not Gone With the Wind, it is still a highly enjoyable civil war romance, heavy on the romance and light on the history. Sometimes, one still has to resort to the guilty pleasures of romantic fiction and this is a good choice. Alaina and Cole are very sweet, and "Al" and "his" antics are hysterical, as are Cole's reactions to him. Of course it takes forever for our H&H to get together, but the scene where they argue chasing each other back and forth between adjoining bedrooms was very entertaining, and the sparks were flying.

The ending was a bit trite and predictable, but I loved the epilogue. I had hoped the author would resolve that one last issue. All in all, very entertaining, I had a difficult time putting it down for more than a few moments, and I will read this again and again.
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on March 27, 2001
I have read each and every one of Kathleen Woodiwiss' novels. "Ashes in the Wind" is by far the best! This is one of the most original storylines I have yet to come across in any romance novel. The main character changes her identity so many times that it keeps us on our guessing at who she will be next. There is enough drama and suspense to keep us reading but not so much that it seems it could never happen in real life. On the contrary, this book almost seemed like something that could have happened in real life (the end mght be a little farfetched) but the majority of the book could pass. This, as most of her other novels, would make for a great romantic movie! If you've never read Kathleen Woodiwiss, I suggest this book as well as all of her others!
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on December 12, 1996
Join the turbelent times of the Civil War era, told from both sides. Surprises from the start and predicaments that make you laugh out loud. All this and a steamy romance. What balance!
Most all of the characters come alive. They sparkle and shine, plus they snap at each other too! The book isn't just one, all characters tend to take center stage as they contribute to the plot and the relationship to Alaina, it isn't "just" her story.
Woodiwiss is one of my most favorite authors, she ties the plots neatly throughout the book to be truly enjoyable. The pursuit of love by her characters takes you through their turmoil and developement to be READY for the love that you know they need. With each character it "dawns" on them at a slower speed.
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on April 29, 2000
Forget Gone with the Wind! This book is the best novel I have ever read in regards to the Civil War. It has intrigue, love, hate, steamy love scenes, that will either leave you laughing or crying. This book takes you there, almost to the point of feeling the Southern heat. You'll fall in love with Cole and wish to God that you could find a man like him, or be so totally frustrated with the circumstances of why he Alaina can not be totally honest with another. If you want to be transported back in time and forget everything around you, get this book as soon as possible and enjoy. A word of won't be able to put it down once you start reading so pick a time when you'll be off from work, or you'll have to call in sick!
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on September 8, 2000
If I could have written a love story for my life, it would have been Ashes in the Wind. When I read the novel, it transported me to a time and place that is still hidden away in my heart. Here is it now, well over 20 years and I still feel as strongly about Ashes in the Wind as I felt then. Some novel are close to magical and this one is as close as you can get. The book was and is incredible. There are books that you remember and there are books that touch your soul. Ashes in the Wind is a book that I will never forget reading. Ashes in the Wind is truly the best novel Kathleen Woodiwiss has written. I loaned my first copy, but I recently bought another copy to keep forever.
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on September 5, 1998
Being from New Orleans myself, I loved reading about the enchanting history of our cultured city and being able to see it from the eyes of several people who lived during the time of the civil war. I first read it when I was thirteen, and ever since then, I have collected every Woodiwiss book. I instantly became addicted to her work. I love how Alaina so thoroughly expresses her southern pride and how strong and courageous she proves to be. When she finally found her happiness after so much struggling I felt like cheering. I was so sad when it was over, but I liked how it was one of those books that just went on and on. I didn't want it to end! I loved it!
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on July 24, 2000
Wow! This novel was amazing! The tale is so wonderfully and beautifully told that I read it over and over again and show no signs of getting tired of it. I've read several other novels by Katleen Woodiwiss and have to say that Ashes in the Wind is by far the best I've yet come across. The time setting was a lovely choice. This kind of story makes you believe that there still exists a love so powerful and extrodinary that nothing else really matters! I like to think that there actually were two people like Cole and Alania that found love during a time of such great sorrow. Again, what a beautiful and lovely story. Wonderful job Ms. Woodiwiss!
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