Jean Plaidy

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Twentieth-century popular writer JP 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 JP 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.
Bennett, Catherine. “The Prime of Miss Jean Plaidy”. The Guardian, pp. 23 - 4.
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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.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
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.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
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.
“Bowker’s Global Books in Print”. globalbooksinprint.com.
British Library Catalogue.

Biography

Birth and Family

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.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.