Female. Education: Stephens College, Columbia, MO, B.F.A.; Northwestern University, M.A. (journalism), 1989.
Writer and television journalist. Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, actress; WFRVTV, Green Bay, WI, and KSDK-TV, St. Louis, MO, reporter; WFLD-TV, Chicago, IL, writer and associate producer. Actor in television commercials.
AWARDS, HONORS: Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for best medieval romance, 1996, for A Dance in Heather.
Lady and the Wolf, Diamond, 1994.
My Fair Lord, Diamond, 1994.
A Dance in Heather, Jove (New York, NY), 1996.
Falcon and the Sword, Jove (New York, NY), 1997.
Romance of the Rose, Berkley (New York, NY), 1998.
The Maiden's Heart, Jove (New York, NY), 1999.
Very Truly Yours, Jove (New York, NY), 2001.
The Duchess' Lover, Jove (New York, NY), 2002.
(Editor and contributor) The Christmas Cat (stories), Berkley (New York, NY), 1996.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Romance Published, Alpha Books (Indianapolis, IN), 2000.
Work represented in the anthology Charmed, Berkley (New York, NY), 1999.
Julie Beard has written a number of historical romances, including My Fair Lord. In this Regency novel, Caroline Wainwright must marry before her twenty-fifth birthday or lose her inheritance. As she approaches the deadline, Caroline is still unmarried, in part because a ghost has driven away all her suitors. In desperation, she recruits a horse thief to be her husband with the help of Theodore Cavendish, an older friend just back from Africa. Lucas Davin, who is in fact the rejected son of an earl, goes along for the money but finds himself genuinely attracted to Caroline, who, with Uncle Teddy and friend Amanda Plumshaw, tutors him in the ways of a gentleman. When Lucas eventually becomes uncomfortable with the deception and wants to return to the London slums, Caroline must convince him to remain, not only because she loves him, but because otherwise she will lose her inheritance to her brother George. Reviewing the novel for Romance Reader online, Nancy J. Silberstein wrote that "at this point, the ghost of Lord Barrett takes a hand in the lovers' dispute—or is it a ghost? Perhaps there are natural explanations for what seems to be a supernatural phenomena. Clues abound for either interpretation."
A Publishers Weekly contributor called Beard's next novel, A Dance in Heather, a "rather gentle medieval romance." By royal decree, Lady Tess Farnsworth must marry Richard Avery, earl of Esterby, a man she hates because he refused to help her family when her father was burned at the stake as a Lollard heretic by Henry V. In addition, Tess is afraid of sex and childbirth, since her own mother died giving birth to her. Library Journal's Mary Kay Chelton called the book "a nice interweaving of medieval British history, pageantry, and love."
Romance of the Rose, Beard's fifth book, features protagonist Lady Rosalind Carbery. After her father dies, the family estate, with the exception of Thornbury, the house Rosalind loves, reverts to Queen Elizabeth I. When a second will surfaces, the question arises of whether the house goes to Rosalind or to Mandrake Rothwell, the son of the man who built Thornbury, forcing them to cooperate in deciding the true heir or lose the house to the queen. Romance Reader's Katy Cooper wrote that Beard "does a fine job of conveying the contrasts of the Elizabethan world, and she is to be commended for her handling of her two historical figures: Elizabeth the First and William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is clearly …a shrewd student of human nature, while Elizabeth is allowed the contradictions and complexity of her knotty personality."
In a Romance Reader review, Jean Mason noted that the premise of The Maiden's Heart is "a bit unusual. How many romances are there where the heroine insists on a 'spiritual' marriage?" Sir Hugh de Grayhurst is a second son whose older brother inherits all of their father's property. At age thirty Hugh wants to marry and settle down but must find a wife who is not limited in her choice of husbands based on his finances. Nearby lives such a woman, Margrete Trewsbury, who has left the convent to handle her dying father's affairs. They marry, but for more than one reason, Margrete insists on a celibate marriage. Hugh is a good man who honors her wishes, but he is also very much in love with her. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Maiden's Heart "engaging."
In Very Truly Yours, set during the Regency period, Liza Cranshaw meets Jack Fairchild and is so taken with him that she refuses all offers until the villainous Lord Barrington blackmails her into a promise of marriage. Years later Jack leaves London and a pile of debts to take over a law practice in Liza's village and ultimately saves her from Barrington. Booklist reviewer Patty Engelmann wrote of Liza and Jack that "these two charming characters make Beard's romance a true delight."
The Duchess's Lover, Beard's 2002 romance, takes place during the late Victorian era. Duchess Olivia Thorpe's abusive husband has died, killed with a letter opener. Soon after, Olivia shares a night with Will Barnes, an artist and garden designer, and this fact is used by her nephew in accusing her of the murder. Barnes is willing to give up everything to clear her name and find the real killer. The differences between the social classes of the time comprise a theme in the story, which also includes references to the plight of female factory workers. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "a multifaceted read that paints an accurate portrait of a bygone era while tugging on the reader's heartstrings."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2001, Patty Engelmann, review of Very Truly Yours, p. 1538; April 15, 2002, Lynne Wach, review of The Duchess's Lover, p. 1384.
Library Journal, May 15, 1996, Mary Kay Chelton, review of A Dance in Heather, p. 49.
Publishers Weekly, May 6, 1996, review of A Dance in Heather, p. 76; May 17, 1999, review of The Maiden's Heart, p. 76; May 29, 2000, review of My Fair Lord, p. 58; February 26, 2001, review of Very Truly Yours, p. 65; March 11, 2002, review of The Duchess' Lover, p. 57.
Julie Beard Web site,http://www.juliebeard.com (April 24, 2002).
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (May 10, 1998), Katy Cooper, review of Romance of the Rose; (May 10, 1999) Jean Mason, review of The Maiden's Heart; (July 5, 2000) Nancy J. Silberstein, review of My Fair Lord. *