Author Spotlight: Barbara Cartland

bio-sketchOne of the world’s most prolific writers, Barbara Cartland is listed in the Guinness World Record for writing 723 novels and leaving 160 unpublished manuscripts upon her death in 2000.  She survived two World Wars and was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award at Kennedy Airport USA for her help in devising and creating the first aeroplane-towed glider.  Barbara gathered thousands of white wedding dresses available for rent by women getting married to service men during WWII so they could have a wedding dress to wear to the ceremony.  Barbara was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List by Her Majesty the Queen, for her contribution to literature and for her work for the Community.

Most famous for her romance novels, Barbara also created cookbooks and wrote several biographies.  Born in 1901, Brabara was raised in England and published her first book in 1923.   She is considered the “Queen of Romance” for her contributions to the romance genre. Barbara Cartland’s books have been made into several movies including The Lady and the Highwayman starring Hugh Grant (which I own and laugh through even if it is slightly cheesy).

article-1022081-03AC33CE0000044D-697_468x613I think I read my first Barbara Cartland book when I was about thirteen.  My mother would read them first (to make sure it was clean enough for me to read) and then she would give them to me.  It wasn’t long before I was reading them faster than she was (I know, having five children and working full time doesn’t excuse her from not reading fast enough).  Mom and I both realized that all her books were safe for me to read and I would estimate that I have read at least a hundred of her books.  Most of them take place in Victorian England and involve a beautiful naive girl and a jaded rake.  I love them all!

In my collection of books (which is vast) I have one bin of books just for her because I have so many. (Someday I will have a real library but for now an organized Rubbermaid storage bin is the closest I come.)  Rereading one of her books is like coming home.  I spent long hours in the living room of my parent’s chaotic house curled up in the sun reading (or hanging upside down on the couch, I can’t figure out now why I loved to read upside down so much).  Anyone who asked my mother what she would recommend to read was handed a Barbara Cartland.

Barbara Cartland’s daughter is in the process of getting her unpublished manuscripts finished and published, they can be purchased through the link below at BarbaraCartland.com.  I highly recommend her books and they can be found at any used book store that carries romance novels (see my previous post regarding my experience with used books stores). I hope you pick one up and let me know what you think.

BarbaraCartland.com

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Author Spotlight: Georgette Heyer

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Ask any romance author or reader who their favorite author is and Georgette Heyer’s name will be mentioned.  Credited with inventing the Regency England genre of  novels, Heyer is still being published today.  I have to admit I own all of her romance books and most of her mysteries.  Georgette Heyer (August 16, 1902-July 4 1974) wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of 21 as a story for her brother.

Heyer was a very private person and spent most of her life refusing interviews.  Most of  Heyer’s novels take place during the same time period as Jane Austen’s but Jane Austen was writing contemporary fiction and Heyer was writing historical novels.   Heyer was incredibly prolific and wrote numerous historical and mystery novels.

Heyer also wrote several novels about famous historical figures including An Infamous Army about Duke Wellington and The Conqueror about William the Conqueror.  Heyer carefully researched and collected facts about the time periods she wrote about, even claiming that she only wrote what Duke Wellington wrote or said.

While I have yet to read a Heyer novel that I don’t love my two favorite are Sylvestor, or the Wicked Uncle and The Grand Sophy.  There are numerous websites and discussion groups out there but I have listed a few here:

www.georgette-heyer.com and www.georgetteheyernovels.com

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