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Bannister, Patricia Valeria 1923-

BANNISTER, Patricia Valeria 1923-

(Gwyneth Moore, Patricia Veryan)

PERSONAL: Born November 21, 1923, in London, England; immigrated to the United States, 1946; married Allan Louis Berg, 1946 (deceased, 1980); children: Carol (deceased, 2002), David. Education: Attended Miss Lodge Secretarial School, London, 1937-38. Religion: Presbyterian. Hobbies and other interests: History, classical music, animal welfare.

ADDRESSES: Home—9805 Northeast 116th St., PMB 7239, Kirkland, WA 98034.

CAREER: Novelist. Worked as a secretary for British Navy, Army, and Air Force Institutes in London, England, 1938-40, Columbia Pictures, London, 1940-42, U.S. Army in London, Paris, France, and Frankfurt, Germany, 1942-46, Pacific Telephone, Sacramento, CA, 1949, National Cash Register Company, Los Angeles, CA, 1950, Southern Counties Gas Company, Los Angeles, 1951-52, and Humble Oil and Refining Company, Los Angeles, 1952-55; University of California, Riverside, secretary for graduate affairs, 1971-85. Freelance novelist, 1978—.

AWARDS, HONORS: Barbara Cartland Loving Cup award, Booklovers Convention, and Romantic Times Award for Best Regency Novel, both 1983, both for Married Past Redemption; Romantic Times Award for Best Regency Novel, 1984, for The Noblest Frailty, 1986, for Sanguinet's Crown, and 1987, for Give All to Love; Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

WRITINGS:

HISTORICAL ROMANCE NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICIA VERYAN

The Lord and the Gypsy, Walker (New York, NY), 1978, published as Debt of Honour, Souvenir (London, England), 1980.

Love's Duet, Walker (New York, NY), 1979, published as A Perfect Match, Souvenir (London, England), 1981.

Mistress of Willowvale, Walker (New York, NY), 1980, Souvenir (London, England), 1982.

Some Brief Folly, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.

The Wagered Widow, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Logic of the Heart, St Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Poor Splendid Wings, Severn House (London, England), 1992.

Lanterns, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Riddle of Alabaster Royal, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

The Riddle of the Lost Lover, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

The Riddle of the Reluctant Rake, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

The Riddle of the Deplorable Dandy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Autumn Loves, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1993.

"SANGUINET SAGA"; UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICIA VERYAN

Nanette, Walker (New York, NY), 1981.

Feather Castles, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.

Married Past Redemption, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.

The Noblest Frailty, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.

Sanguinet's Crown, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

Give All to Love, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

"GOLDEN CHRONICLES"; UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICIA VERYAN

Practice to Deceive, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

Journey to Enchantment, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Cherished Enemy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

The Tyrant, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Love Alters Not, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

The Dedicated Villain, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

"JEWELED MEN" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICIA VERYAN

Time's Fool, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Had We Never Loved, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Ask Me No Questions, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

A Shadow's Bliss, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Never Doubt I Love, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Mandarin of Mayfair, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

ROMANCE NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM GWYNETH MOORE

Men Were Deceivers Ever, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1989.

The Dirty Frog, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1990.

Love's Lady Lost, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1991.

Also contributor to Regency Quartet (novella), Pride House, 1992.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Whimsy, an adventure romance set in the 1800s.

SIDELIGHTS: Patricia Valeria Bannister is the author of historical romance novels published under the pseudonyms Patricia Veryan and Gwyneth Moore. Her works include the "Sanguinet Saga," the "Golden Chronicles," and the "Jeweled Men" series. Her books under the Veryan pseudonym have been her most acclaimed. According to Barbara E. Kemp in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, "Veryan is one of the most outstanding authors of historical romance writing today. She is adept at creating fascinating characters, and has written some of the most original and intriguing stories to be found in the genre."

Bannister was born in 1923, in London, England. She completed secretarial school and worked for Columbia Pictures and the U.S. Army. After moving to the United States, Bannister married an California G.I. she had met while working in Frankfurt, Germany, and set about raising a family, until her husband's failing health prompted her to get a job at the University of California. In 1977 she took up writing at the urging of a friend.

Bannister published her first work, 1978's The Lord and the Gypsy, under the Veryan pseudonym, This tale features the protagonist Lucian St. Clair, who, as Kemp noted, "endures great emotional and physical suffering as the ultimate atonement for past wrongs committed." Kemp also observed that Bannister's works create a multifaceted view of Regency society.

Bannister's "Sanguinet Saga" is held together by the theme of nine heroes fighting against the antagonistic Sanguinet brothers. Her "Golden Chronicles," set in the Georgian period of English history, follow the adventures of several Jacobites—people who plot to replace the Hanoverian royal line with the Catholic descendants of the deposed James II. The "Jeweled Men" series, also set in the Georgian era, involves a plot to replace the monarchy with a republic.

In her Veryan romance-adventure novels with the word "riddle" in the title, Bannister has created a series revolving around a group of central characters, among them Captain Jack Vespa, newly retired from the Napoleonic Wars. In The Riddle of Alabaster Royal Vespa and several friends try to determine whether his estate is haunted or not, uncovering strange secrets along the way. Elizabeth Mary Mellett in Library Journal called the novel an "exciting, humorous, romantic adventure." A critic for Publishers Weekly praised the novel as "charming and droll," adding that "the story is further enlivened by well-drawn secondary characters" and that "skilled pacing and dramatization carry events along."

Vespa returns in The Riddle of the Lost Lover, in which the captain searches for his true father's identity in hopes that his family background will make him worthy of the noble woman he loves. The search eventually involves him in a dangerous mission on behalf of England's war effort. Ann Bouricius in Booklist described Vespa as "a pure Veryan hero to die for—courageous, loyal, and honorable." Mellett found that "this work blends wonderful characters, a breathlessly exciting plot, and just the right touch of humor."

The Riddle of the Reluctant Rake focuses on Vespa's friend Hastings Chatteris Adair, who is wrongly accused of stealing a maiden's virtue. Enlisting the help of his friends, Hastings works on clearing his name, a quest that takes him into his family's disreputable past. A critic for Publishers Weekly believed that "Veryan sets a sprightly pace for her engaging plot, serving up a sparkling romance and a mystery with a subtle denouement." Alexandra Shrake in Booklist noted that "readers of this polished period mystery romance will relish Veryan's charming British characters and their innocent, 'proper' beliefs and values that are so refreshing to the modern reader."

The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster tells two stories. The first concerns Cordelia, whose mother maneuvers a local dandy into proposing marriage to her against his wishes. Cordelia flees to Egypt and, presumed lost in a shipwreck, stays away from England for a year. The second story concerns Piers Cranford, who is struggling to keep the family estate financially afloat. Inevitably, the two characters get together. A Publishers Weekly critic praised the "deliciously entangled plot," while Diana Texier Herald in Booklist believed that The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster "will delight both Veryan fanatics and readers new to her books."

Bannister once told CA: "I like to find humour, characterization, tenderness and lots of action in a book, so I try to incorporate these in my books. I am most grateful to my devoted readers, and to the loyalty and efforts of my fan club."

More recently, she added: "It's been quite a while, but I suspect that my initial interest in writing was fostered by a great deal of reading. In my youth I was a devotee of tales of adventure and derring-do. I devoured science fiction and historical books and became much interested in the stories of British authors Jeffery Farnol and Georgette Heyer besides the works of Jane Austen and others.

"My writing schedule in earlier years was quite heavy—about eight hours a day sandwiched between a full time job, a home, and family tasks. Much accomplished with the help of my loyal husband. At this stage of my life it has become whenever I can find available hours.

"I don't know that I have a 'favorite book'. I'm rather fond of most of my tales. I tend to refer new readers to Lanterns, which had some plot twists I thought worked out quite well. And I was pleased with Love Alterns Not, many readers have praised the hero of this story as being particularly appealing.

"My ambition for my works is that they may enable some reader to escape today's frightening (to me) world for a little while and perhaps inspire a chuckle or even a laugh now and then. And also that the plots remind us that there are countless men and women who live quiet and honorable lives spreading kindness and caring to others despite the efforts of much of the 'entertainment' industry to undermine such old fashioned morality.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1994, Denise Perry Donavin, review of A Shadow's Bliss, p. 1329; February 1, 1995, Denise Perry Donavin, review of Never Doubt I Love, p. 992; October 15, 1996, Jennifer Henderson, review of Lanterns, p. 406; September 15, 1998, Ann Bouricius, review of The Riddle of the Lost Lover, p. 214; October 15, 1999, Alexandra Shrake, review of The Riddle of the Reluctant Rake, p. 423; March 1, 2001, Diana Tixier Herald, review of The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster, p. 1232; December 1, 2002, Kaite Mediatore, review of The Riddle of the Deplorable Dandy, p. 651.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1995, p. 102; September 1, 1995, p. 1218; September 15, 1996, p. 1351.

Library Journal, October 1, 1995, Paula M. Zieselman, review of The Mandarin of Mayfair, p. 121; February 15, 1997, p. 184; November 1, 1997, Elizabeth Mary Mellett, review of The Riddle of Alabaster Royal, p. 118; September 15, 1998, Elizabeth Mellett, review of The Riddle of the Lost Lover, p. 115.

Publishers Weekly, March 21, 1994, review of A Shadow's Bliss, p. 56; September 16, 1996, review of Lanterns, p. 71; September 15, 1997, review of The Riddle of Alabaster Royal, p. 51; Oct 5, 1998, review of The Riddle of the Lost Lover, p. 81; October 4, 1999, review of The Riddle of the Reluctant Rake, p. 65; April 2, 2001, review of The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster, p. 40.

School Library Journal, March, 1997, Linda A. Vretos, review of Lanterns, p. 217; April, 1998, Claudia Moore, review of The Riddle of Alabaster Royal, p. 159.

ONLINE

Patricia Veryan Fanclub Web site,http://www.patriciaveryanfanclub.com/ (October, 2003).

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