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Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. Jean Plaidy entry: Overview screen within Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Online, 2006. <http://orlando.cambridge.org/>. 25 October 2014.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
Works By
Twentieth-century popular writer Jean Plaidy wrote over 200 novels under seven different pseudonyms: some eighty-seven historical novels as Jean Plaidy, at least thirty-one gothic romances as Victoria Holt, and another nineteen historical romances as Philippa Carr, besides short stories. Her other four writing names, Eleanor Alice Burford (her birth name), Elbur Ford, Ellalice Tate, and Kathleen Kellow, were less successful and shorter lived; under them Jean Plaidy experimented with the romance and gothic genres. Her novels are usually written from the perspective of the heroine, who in her historical novels is an actual woman in some way connected to royalty, either by birth, marriage, or an illicit relationship. She deliberately follows time-hallowed plot patterns and reuses predictable characters and conclusions. Bibliographic Citation link. Her historical novels create a kind of soap opera of British history from the close of the middle ages to Queen Victoria, in which personal relations and individual passions emerge powerfully from a somewhat shallow cultural and historical context. She was particularly known for series fiction, in which closure never comes because every story leads to another.
Milestones
1 September 1906 Eleanor Alice Burford (who later wrote as JP and under many other pseudonyms) was born at 20 Burke Street in Canning Town, West Ham. Bibliographic Citation link.
1941 Already married for about fifteen years, the future JP published her first novel, a romance titled Daughter of Anna, under her maiden name, Eleanor Alice Burford. Bibliographic Citation link.
19 January 1993 Eleanor Hibbert, or JP, died, most likely of old age, while on a cruise in the Mediterranean. She was on the cruise ship the Sea Princess when she died on the voyage from Athens to Port Said. Bibliographic Citation link.
September 1993 The final novel of JP's enormously prolific career was (under this name) Rose Without a Thorn, one of her Queens of England series, which appeared some months after her death. Bibliographic Citation link.
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