In a recent post, I finally got round to sharing some lovely photos of two of Molly Clavering's virtually lost novels, sent to me months ago by Jerri Chase. And I had intended to take a look at the just-barely-legible (and perhaps more tantalizing as a result?) list of other books published by Clavering's publisher for that title, Robert Hale. But I babbled on a bit too long about Clavering and ran out of time. So here goes.
|One of several "diadem" titles for Lee,|
an alter-ego of Marie Bartlett (aka Valerie Rift)
If you've been reading this blog for long, you know how much I love coming across book jackets with listings of a publisher's other books. I can't begin to count the number of authors I've added to my list as a result of such lists, and even now, when you'd think I would be coming to the end of all the women who could possibly have published fiction during my specific 50 year period, I'm still finding new authors fairly regularly. Will I get lucky again with the list from Clavering's book?
By increasing the contrast on Jerri's photo, I think I've made it more or less legible, and I've edited out the rest of the pic, so it should show up a bit larger, in case you'd like to peruse it for yourself.
Now, admittedly, the list is described as "New Romantic Fiction," which might lead me to think that most of the authors won't be my cup of tea, but then again, Molly Clavering (and, for that matter, D. E. Stevenson, Anna Buchan/O. Douglas, and Elizabeth Cadell, just to name a few) were also often marketed as a writers of "romance," so who knows what we might find here?
VIDA DERRY was the author of about a dozen novels for Robert Hale, of which several of the later ones seem to be hospital romances. As it turns out, she does belong on my list, and will be added in my next update, though I'm not sure I'll rush to check out any her fiction.
I knew that MARY ESSEX sounded familiar to me, and sure enough a quick look at my database revealed that she's already on my list—as one of the many pseudonyms of URSULA BLOOM. Simon at Stuck-in-a-Book wrote a few years ago about three different novels published under the Essex name, and the first two sound irresistible while the third, he reported, was a bit more uneven. One wonders which category the oddly-named Dr. Guardian of the Gate would fall into?
And while I'm at it, I'll jump down the list to another Ursula Bloom pseudonym included here, SHEILA BURNS. ODNB reports that Bloom used the Burns pseudonym, as well as "Rachel Harvey," for a series of hospital novels, which don't immediately sound as enticing as the Essex novels Simon discussed.
Continuing with pseudonyms, which were common for romantic novelists, VALERIE RIFT was the pseudonym of MARIE BARTLETT (full name Primrose Marie Bartlett), who also published novels as ROWENA LEE. Some of her titles lead me to believe she's more of a standard romance writer than Molly Clavering was (i.e. Secret Splendour , Joyous Bondage , Reckless Love , etc.), but her memoir of her life in Kenya, published under her own name, has the more evocative title The Rhino Stayed for Breakfast (1958).
I'll skip around a bit and mention that VICKY LANCASTER was one of several pen names used by DOROTHY PHOEBE ANSLE. I have to admit Doctor in Suspense is not calling to me to read it, but Barb at Leaves and Pages read another of Ansle's books—this one under her "Laura Conway" pseudonym—a while back. You can read it about it here.
Meanwhile, THERESA CHARLES is one of a whole slew of pseudonyms used by IRENE MAUDE SWATRIDGE, who may be better known to some of you as IRENE MOSSOP (her maiden name), under which name she wrote a number of girls' school stories. I've never even begun to get a handle on all of the hundreds of books Swatridge wrote (there's a task for a rainy day!), and Ring for Nurse Raine isn't exciting me much, but there could well be other treasures hidden among her other novels.
BARBARA BLACKBURN was already on my list, the author of dozens of romances for several different publishers.
And DOROTHY UPSON, also already listed, published nearly 60 novels for Mills & Boon and Hutchinson over nearly thirty years.
|(A particularly hideous photo, but the best|
I could do for an Irene Knight cover)
IRENE KNIGHT, meanwhile, is a new addition to the list, though she appears to have published only four novels in all (unless she, like many of her colleagues in romance, had other pseudonyms as yet unknown), with the listed title, Someone for Julia, being the last.
The MARGARET A. COLE listed here is not to be confused with the crime writing Margaret Cole, who, better known as M. I. Cole, wrote more than 30 well-received mysteries. The romance writer is Margaret Alice Cole, who wrote 24 books, including two children's books. I have to admit that Love on the Long Walk is somehow a rather intriguing title for me. Are we talking about a hike, an adventure holiday, or a walk to the nearest gas station after one's car has died? Her later book, Scottish Rhapsody (1966), also has a rather grand title for a romance.
And speaking of evocative titles, the last two authors on the list excelled at them, at least part of the time. Summer Isles of Eden by AMY J. BAKER may not be one of those—it's a little over the top for my taste. But Baker, who published 40 novels 1911-1962 (Summer Isles is the last), also came up with titles like The Impenitent Prayer, The Crepe de Chine Wife, Six Merry Mummers, Hell's Odyssey: Coal Boat Cargo (which surely is more of a thriller than a romance?), and the scandalous-sounding The Temptress: Monte Carlo.
Finally, MARGARET FERGUSON did even better with the titles of some of her 60+ novels, published 1930-1973, and I even know a little about a couple of them. Flambeau (1934) is set in the Cotswolds and is about "a large family and the closely, richly woven fabric of their lives and reactions to each other." Okay, not a terribly informative description, but better than what I know about some of these titles. And Harvest of Nettles (1952) is a crime novel set in Ceylon, about a nurse suspected of overdosing a patient. (I'm paraphrasing the information I found to remove a spoiler—not that anyone is likely to be reading the book any time soon, but on the off chance…) Other catchy Ferguson titles are The Pinching Shoe, Thorn Harvest, The Happy-Go-Luckies, A Bed of Brambles, and A Pennyweight of Love. Perhaps such titles will seduce me into sampling one of her novels!
Oh Scott, what riches!ReplyDelete
I absolutely love the jacket art for Harvest of Nettles (and the blurb sounds intriguing too). I must save it on my Pinterest Vintage Detective & Suspense page.
And Pride of Yesterday. Another intriguing possibility.
Ooo, the cover of The Amazing Marriage. I could assume it's completely sterotypical of the appalling myth of Housewife in Pearls and Stilettos greeting Husband as he Walks in the Door after a Hard Day at the Office(minus the de rigeur martini)but perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps she returned from her job as City Editor for The Times just moments before he did. What an amazing marriage.
As always,thanks for all this, Scott.
I think perhaps the glamorous wife has just completed a day's work on her new novel, Susan. She pretends that it's only a hobby, when in fact she pays most of the household expenses, but she doesn't want her husband to realize because it would hurt his feelings...Delete
I suppose it will surprise no one that my favorite cover is "Overture for Beginners." Man, this coould be a block-buster film for some star like - oh, say - Tiffany Fontaine, if only the year was 1956 instead...............love most of the covoer art here! FUN!ReplyDelete
I could certainly see Ms Fontaine in that dress, Tom!Delete
The one I want to read on this list is Love on the Long Walk. I see the coast and cliff line in the background. I wonder if they are walking from Land's End to John 'o Groats?ReplyDelete
I am intrigued by that book, Jerri. It might be a fun vicarious holiday to take!Delete
Wait, you couldn't find a jacket for Dr. Irresistable, M.D. from the back cover list?ReplyDelete
Ha, I couldn't resist....Delete
That cover may be the best Valentine gift I get. Thanks!!!!!!!!Delete
Love it, Susan!Delete
DR IRRESISTIBLE is, in its way, irresistible. The Theresa Charles covers are in rather a different league than the others; do we know anything about Bruce Roberts or whoever did the three–faced one?ReplyDelete
I'm afraid I don't, but it's an interesting one, isn't it? I think someone needs to start a blog dedicated to researching the designers of book covers in this time period...Delete
I just found your blog and I love it!! Is there a way to sign up to receive your posts via email? Thank you!!
Thanks, Elizabeth, glad you found me. I've never been able to figure out how to allow people to do email digests, but if any other readers know maybe they'll chime in.Delete
Ursula Bloom wrote a fascinating and very honest account of her wartime memories, War isn’t Wonderful. She admits she wasn't brave - she and her husband sat out much of WW2 in a series of country hotels. But her description of what happened when a bomb fell on their Chelsea flat is very moving, and the book is full of throw-away lines which really set the scene, like a brief mention of how quiet London streets were without children. It's not a mystery I'm afraid, but well worth reading if you can track a copy down and, obviously, is great for period detail.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Christine. I've heard of War Isn't Wonderful, but never knew any details about it, so thanks very much for the information. Now to track down a copy!Delete