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Beverley, Jo 1947- (Mary Josephine Dunn)

PERSONAL:

Born September 22, 1947, in Morecambe, Lancashire, England; immigrated to Canada with her husband, 1976; daughter of John (a hotel owner) and Mildred (a hotel owner) Dunn; married Kenneth Beverley (a research scientist), June 24, 1971; children: Jonathan, Philip. Education: Graduated from Layton Hill, 1966, and University of Keele, 1970.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Agent—Margaret Ruley, The Rotrosen Agency, 318 E. 55th St., New York, NY 10022. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Vocational guidance counselor, 1971-76; affiliated with Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils.

MEMBER:

Romance Writers of America, Canadian Romance Authors Network, Writers Union of Canada, SF Canada, Novelists, Inc.

AWARDS, HONORS:

RITA Awards, 1990, for Emily and the Dark Angel, 1991, for An Unwilling Bride, 1992, for both Deirdre and Don Juan and My Lady Notorious, and 2000, for Devilish; inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, 1993; My Lady Notorious, was voted one of the hundred best romances ever by readers of Affaire de Coeur. Two Career Achievement awards for Regency Historical, Romantic Times; member of Romance Writers Hall of Fame.

WRITINGS:

"TRADITIONAL REGENCY" ROMANCE NOVELS

Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, Walker (New York, NY), 1988.

The Stanforth Secrets, Walker (New York, NY), 1989.

The Stolen Bride, Walker (New York, NY), 1990.

If Fancy Be the Food of Love, Walker (New York, NY), 1991.

Emily and the Dark Angel, Walker (New York, NY), 1991.

The Fortune Hunter, Walker (New York, NY), 1991.

Deirdre and Don Juan, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.

"REGENCY ROGUES" ROMANCE NOVELS

An Arranged Marriage, Zebra (New York, NY), 1991.

The Christmas Angel, Zebra (New York, NY), 1992.

An Unwilling Bride, Zebra (New York, NY), 1992.

Forbidden, Zebra (New York, NY), 1994.

Dangerous Joy, Zebra (New York, NY), 1995.

The Devil's Heiress, Signet (New York, NY), 2001.

The Dragon's Bride, Signet (New York, NY), 2001.

Hazard, Signet (New York, NY), 2002.

St. Raven, Signet (New York, NY), 2003.

Skylark, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.

Three Heroes (omnibus), New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.

The Rogue's Return, Signet (New York, NY), 2006.

To Rescue a Rogue, Signet Book/New American Library (New York, NY), 2006.

Lady Beware, Signet (New York, NY), 2007.

MEDIEVAL ROMANCE NOVELS

Lord of My Heart, Avon (New York, NY), 1992.

Dark Champion, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.

The Shattered Rose, Zebra (New York, NY), 1996.

Lord of Midnight, Topaz (New York, NY), 1998.

"MALLOREN" ROMANCE NOVELS

My Lady Notorious, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.

Tempting Fortune, Zebra (New York, NY), 1995.

Something Wicked, Topaz (New York, NY), 1997.

Secrets of the Night, Topaz (New York, NY), 1999.

Devilish, Signet (New York, NY), 2000.

Winter Fire, Signet (New York, NY), 2003.

A Most Unsuitable Man, Signet (New York, NY), 2005.

A Lady's Secret, Signet (New York, NY), 2008.

OTHER

Forbidden Magic (novel), Topaz (New York, NY), 1998.

(Foreword) Georgette Heyer, A Civil Contract, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2005.

(Foreword) Edward Montague, The Demon of Sicily, 200th anniversary edition, Valancourt Books (Kansas City, MO), 2007.

Also contributor of novellas to anthologies, including "The Fruit Picker," in Writers of the Future IV, Bridge, 1988; "Twelfth Night," in A Christmas Delight, Zebra (New York, NY), 1991; "If Fancy Be the Food of Love," in A Regency Valentine, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1992; "Lord Samhain's Night," in All Hallows' Eve, Walker (New York, NY), 1992; "The Demon's Bride," in Moonlight Lovers, Avon (New York, NY), 1993; "A Mummer's Play," in A Regency Christmas VI, Signet (New York, NY), 1995; "A Gift of Light," in The Christmas Cat, Berkley (New York, NY), 1996; "Forbidden Affections," in A Spring Bouquet, Zebra (New York, NY), 1996; "The Determined Bride," in Married at Midnight, Avon (New York, NY), 1996; "The Lord of Elphindale," in Faery Magic, Zebra (New York, NY), 1998; "Day of Wrath" in Star of Wonder, Jove (New York, NY), 1999; "The Wise Virgin" in The Brides of Christmas, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2000; "The Demon's Mistress" in In Praise of Younger Men, Signet (New York, NY), 2001; "The Trouble with Heroes" in Irresistible Forces, Roc (New York, NY), 2004; and "The Dragon and the Virgin Princess," in Dragon Lovers, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2007. Contributor to Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, Ben Bella Books, 2006.

Beverley's work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Dutch, German, Czech, Russian, Norwegian, Polish, Italian, and Bulgarian.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jo Beverley is a well-known and award-winning author of popular romance novels set in her native England during the Regency, Georgian, and medieval periods. Beverley is a five-time RITA Award winner, and in recognition of her contribution to the genre, she was elected a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She was a keynote speaker at the 2003 National Conference of Romance Writers of America in New York, and she is in demand around North America as a speaker on romance fiction and writing.

Beverley writes connected novels, including two Regency series. Among the installments are St. Raven and Hazard, part of the "Regency Rogues" series. St. Raven features a plot that involves scandal, crime, social-class dynamics, and scheming. Maria Hatton declared in Booklist: "Intrigue and adventure are impossible for Cressida [the heroine]—and Beverley's reader—to resist in this sensuous and captivating tale." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, had a lukewarm response to the story, commenting, "Beverley takes her readers through unsavory house parties and London ballrooms, but the journey meanders and lacks energy." The critic recommended the novel only to Beverley's dedicated fans.

The "Rogue" series continues with Skylark, the story of a couple once thwarted in love, who get a second chance at happiness together. Stephen Ball never forgot Laura, despite the fact that she married another man and became Lady Skylark. Now a widow, she needs his help to save her son from her husband's family, and he hopes that his success will win him the opportunity to prove that he still loves her. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "the mystery … develops … slowly, and readers may have a tough time holding out for the denouement." However, in a review for Library Journal, Kristin Ramsdell praised the book for "lively intrigue, likable characters, and a plot with enough twists to keep readers engaged," and Booklist contributor John Charles commented that "beautifully nuanced characters and gracefully witty writing help this unforgettable love story soar."

The Rogue's Return, the next book in the series, features Simon St. Bride, an Englishman who has spent many years in Canada. Just as he is readying to finally return home, intent on marrying, Simon gets caught up in a duel. As a result, he feels obliged to Jane Otterburn, who remains disconcertingly tight-lipped on the subject of her past. However, a joint goal soon puts Simon and Jane on the path to romance and mutual understanding. John Charles, again reviewing for Booklist, praised Beverley for her use of "a refreshingly different Regency setting" and dubbed the novel "one sublime romance." In a contribution to the Best Reviews Web site, Marilyn Rondeau remarked: "Beverley continues to delight readers with tales of complex people caught up in romantic love stories and surrounded with adventuresome exploits and intrigue."

In To Rescue a Rogue, Beverley introduces readers to Mara St. Bride, a spunky young woman who resents having been rescued by Darius "Dare" Debenham when a late-night adventure gets her into trouble. She finds a way to return the favor, however, when Dare appears as if from the dead, a year after having been reported among the casualties at the Battle of Waterloo. Mara determines to help bring the man back to himself, despite his opium addiction and addled memories, and her sheer persistence helps to heal him and win her his heart. Booklist contributor John Charles remarked on Beverley's consistency, including "her usual beautifully nuanced characters and lyrical writing." Joan Hammond, writing for Romantic Times Online, called it an "emotionally packed story of great love, [and] tremendous courage."

In Lady Beware, the newest Viscount Darien, Horatio Cave, is determined to improve the reputation of his family, previously known for a series of scandals, violent behavior, and madness. Horatio has distinguished himself in the military and hopes to capitalize on his actions once he has returned to London. One of his goals is to win the hand of a respectable bride, and he has his attentions turned toward Lady Thea Debenham, a very proper young woman. Despite her initial qualms about his scandalous nature, Thea finds Horatio attractive, and their chemistry is undeniable. But the real question is whether she can trust him—and whether her brother Dare, who was featured in the previous volume of the "Rogue" series, will allow her to get close enough to Horatio to come to her own conclusions. But when Dare is accused of behaving cowardly at Waterloo, Horatio is in a position to clear his name, thereby making Dare, and by extension Thea, indebted to him. Lezlie Patterson, reviewing for State, dubbed the book "a delightful blend of wit, … intrigue, … and emotional victories." Joan Hammond, writing for the Romantic Times Online, praised the novel, calling it "delightful, vintage Beverley."

Of her many novels, Beverley's Georgian series about the aristocratic Malloren family that is set in mid-eighteenth century—or Georgian-period—England, has particularly caught the attention of readers. My Lady Notorious, the first in the series, won a RITA Award and was voted one of the hundred best romances ever by readers of Affaire de Coeur. My Lady Notorious was followed by Tempting Fortune, which a Publishers Weekly reviewer described as "delightfully wicked" and "romance fiction at its best"; Something Wicked was a USA Today bestseller. The fifth installment in the series, Devilish, offers readers "a lively backdrop of international intrigue," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The reviewer added that despite a disappointing subplot and a flat love story, the "large-scale appeal of Beverley's characters ensure a satisfying escape." In contrast, Ramsdell of Library Journal found the book completely engrossing. Ramsdell praised Beverley's characterization, setting, writing style, and pace. She concluded that this "exquisitely sensual story is one that readers won't soon forget."

The "Malloren" novels continue with Winter Fire. The entire family is headed to Rothgar Abbey, but it is Genova Smith who finds herself in a predicament. Traveling with the Marquess of Ashart, attempting to force him to admit to fathering an abandoned baby she believes to be his, she finds herself agreeing to pretend to the existence of an engagement between them, a situation that naturally spins out of their control. Kristin Ramsdell, writing for Library Journal, declared that "holiday fun, lively family interactions, and romance abound in this heartwarming tale." In a review for Booklist, contributor John Charles remarked that "an intelligent, ever sensible heroine and an elegant, sinfully seductive rake spar with splendidly sexy results."

A Most Unsuitable Man revisits some of the peripheral characters from Winter Fire, and begins when the Marquess of Rothgar hires Octavius "Fitz" Fitzroger to act as bodyguard to his cousin, the Marquess of Ashart. While carrying out his duties, Fitz meets and falls for Damaris Myddleton, who just happens to be an heiress and ward of sorts to Rothgar. Distracted by his feelings for Damaris, Fitz grows careless in guarding Ashart, and Damaris is nearly killed when an attempt is made on Ashart's life. Damaris's near miss gives Fitz fresh resolve, and he sets out to find the man who put her life at risk. John Charles, again reviewing for Booklist, found this latest of Beverley's efforts to be "expertly laced with danger and skillfully sweetened with sensuality."

Beverley has achieved acclaim in each of the three historical periods in which she writes. Her 1998 medieval historical romance, Lord of Midnight, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and a reviewer from the magazine called the author "arguably today's most skillful writer of intelligent historical romance." The critic went on to describe the novel as "an exploration of the medieval mind that succeeds on many levels." Added Beverley to CA: "Lord of Midnight is a book concerned with honor, scruples, and the nature of a warrior."

In Lord of Midnight, Claire of Summerbourne grieves over her dead father, killed in a treasonous uprising against Henry I, and resents the man who has been given her family's estates. She consents to marry him, however, for the sake of her family. Just as her reserve toward her husband begins to thaw, Claire discovers that he is also the man who killed her father in a duel to the death. A Library Journal critic, who described Beverley as being known for her "fast-paced, wonderfully inventive stories, excellent use of humor and language, and vividly rendered characters and situations," declared that she had "created another gem."

Beverley once told CA: "I think I was born a romance writer. At sixteen, I wrote a historical romance in school notebooks. It just took me nearly forty years to believe that being a published author was possible. An Arranged Marriage, my sixth book published, was actually written in the mid-1970s, the only one of a number of attempts to be truly completed. And then I put it away on the shelf.

"Love stories fascinate me. Men and women are so out on the edge, so raw and vulnerable, when they're falling in love and courting one another. I call it the human mating dance and it's at times hilarious, at times heart-wrenching. Actually surrendering to love, and to the commitment of lifelong bonding and intimacy, is probably the most momentous decision any of us make, even if we don't realize it at the time. No wonder the romance genre is so popular."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Romantic Hearts, 3rd edition, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 1997.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1998, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Forbidden Magic, p. 212; April 15, 1999, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Secrets of the Night, p. 1517; June, 2001, Maria Hatton, review of The Dragon's Bride, p. 1854; July, 2001, Maria Hatton, review of The Devil's Heiress, p. 1990; January 1, 2003, Maria Hatton, review of St. Raven, p. 857; October 15, 2003, John Charles, review of Winter Fire, p. 395; May 1, 2004, John Charles, review of Skylark, p. 1549; February 1, 2005, John Charles, review of A Most Unsuitable Man, p. 948; February 15, 2006, John Charles, review of The Rogue's Return, p. 51; August 1, 2006, John Charles, review of To Rescue a Rogue, p. 54.

Library Journal, May 15, 1998, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Lord of Midnight, p. 75; November 15, 1998, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Forbidden Magic, p. 57; November 15, 1999, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Star of Wonder, p. 55; February 15, 2000, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Devilish, p. 148; May 15, 2001, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Dragon's Bride, p. 106; November 15, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Winter Fire, p. 55; May 15, 2004, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Skylark, p. 71.

Publishers Weekly, February 20, 1995, review of Tempting Fortune, p. 201; May 26, 1997, review of Something Wicked, p. 82; March 9, 1998, review of Lord of Midnight, p. 65; March 6, 2000, review of Devilish, p. 89; February 19, 2001 review of In Praise of Younger Men, p. 75; July 2, 2001, review of The Devil's Heiress, p. 57; January 13, 2003, review of St. Raven, p. 46; April 5, 2004, review of Skylark, p. 47.

Racing Post (London, England), May 24, 2000, Tom O'Ryan, "Beverley: Jo Mell Shows the Way Home," p. 66.

State, July 5, 2007, Lezlie Patterson, "‘Lady Beware’ Blends Wit, Intrigue in ‘Rogue’ Tale."

ONLINE

Best Reviews,http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (December 10, 2007), Marilyn Rondeau, review of The Rogue's Return.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (December 10, 2007), Joan Hammond, reviews of To Rescue a Rogue, and Lady Beware.

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Beverley, Jo 1947- (Mary Josephine Dunn)

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