Dawes, Edna 1931–
Dawes, Edna 1931–
(Eva Dane, Elizabeth Darrell, Eleanor Drew, Emma Drummond)
Dearest Tiger, Hale (London, England), 1975.
Pink Snow, Hale (London, England), 1975.
A Hidden Heart of Fire, Hale (London, England), 1976.
(As Eleanor Drew) Burn All Your Bridges, Macdonald and Jane's (London, England), 1976.
Fly with My Love, Hale (London, England), 1978.
HISTORICAL FICTION; AS EMMA DRUMMOND
Scarlet Shadows, Dell (New York, NY), 1978, published under pseudonym Elizabeth Darrell, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2000.
The Burning Land, Macdonald and Jane's (London, England), 1979.
The Rice Dragon, Macdonald (London, England), 1980, published under pseudonym Elizabeth Darrell, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.
Beyond All Frontiers, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983, published under pseudonym Elizabeth Darrell, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.
Forget the Glory, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985, published under pseudonym Elizabeth Darrell, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2003.
The Bridge of a Hundred Dragons, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.
A Captive Freedom, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.
Some Far Elusive Dawn, Gollancz (London, England), 1988, published as Some Elusive Dawn, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
That Sweet and Savage Land, Gollancz (London, England), 1990, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
"KNIGHTSHILL" SERIES; AS EMMA DRUMMOND
A Question of Honour, Gollancz (London, England), 1991, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
A Distant Hero, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Act of Valour, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1996, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
HISTORICAL FICTION; AS ELIZABETH DARRELL
The Jade Alliance, Putnam (New York, NY), 1979.
The Gathering Wolves, Coward, McCann (New York, NY), 1980.
The Flight of the Flamingo, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
Concerto, Michael Joseph (London, England), 1993, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Unsung Heroes, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2001.
Flight to Anywhere, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2001.
Shadows over the Sun, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.
NOVELS; AS EVA DANE
A Lion by the Mane, Macdonald and Jane's (London, England), 1975.
Shadows in the Fire, Macdonald and Jane's (London, England), 1975.
The Vaaldorp Diamond, Macdonald and Jane's (London, England), 1978.
"SHERIDAN" SERIES; AS ELIZABETH DARRELL
At the Going down of the Sun, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.
And in the Morning, Century (London, England), 1986.
We Will Remember, Michael Joseph (London, England), 1996, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.
"MAX RYDAL" SERIES; AS ELIZABETH DARRELL
Russian Roulette, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.
Chinese Puzzle, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.
Czech Mate, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.
Dutch Courage, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2008.
Novelist Edna Dawes has written under a variety of pseudonyms, including Emma Drummond, Elizabeth Darrell, Eva Dane, and Eleanor Drew. Regardless of pseudonym, Dawes's novels are frequently set during the height of the British Empire, from the nineteenth-century reign of Queen Victoria through World War II. Her books examine the lives and loves of the members of the British military and their families, both upper-class officers and common soldiers.
The "Knightshill" trilogy follows one noble family, the Ashleighs, as they attempt to survive and cope during the wars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The family's members include the patriarch, Sir Gilliard Ashleigh, and his five grandchildren. Only four are still living; the eldest, Vorne, was killed fighting in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1885. To Sir Gilliard, Vorne was perfection incarnate, and no matter how hard the other four children try they cannot compare. Although Vere, the next eldest, proves himself a hero on the fields of battle as well, his grandfather sees only the young man's soft side: he enjoys painting and growing orchids. The youngest boy, Valentine, is still in school when the saga begins, but by the second book, A Distant Hero, he has graduated and the Boer War has begun, giving him, too, a chance to prove his bravery. The daughters also struggle to fulfill their role in the family as Sir Gilliard sees it. Rather than marrying into other English families of good breeding and bearing sons, Margaret becomes involved with a diplomat from Italy, and Charlotte, who has a crippled leg, seems unfit to marry anyone at all. In the end she does find love, but, to Sir Gilliard's dismay, it is with a commoner. "Drummond … has crafted a satisfying, old-fashioned historical romance with vivid descriptions," a Publishers Weekly contributor declared of the first book in the trilogy, A Question of Honour. The second volume also drew praise from a Publishers Weekly contributor, who noted the book's "well-observed family dynamics, excellent pacing and effective changes of viewpoint."
Several of Dawes's novels are set in Britain's Asian colonies, including India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Both That Sweet and Savage Land and Forget the Glory follow men and women attached to army units stationed in India in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the former book, the main characters, Elizabeth Delacourt, her officer husband William, and another officer, John Stavenham, form a love triangle when all wind up stationed together. The latter volume tells the stories of Captain Rowan DeMayne, an officer with the 43rd Light Dragoons, and the company's eighteen-year-old, twice-widowed washerwoman, Mary Clarke, as they travel with the company from India to the Crimean Peninsula to participate in the Crimean War. This story, "finely crafted and full of detailed imagery" according to Hatton, "is one of magnificence and courage set against the horrors of war."
Some Far Elusive Dawn, set in the Singapore of the 1920s, follows two men who try to pick up the pieces of their lives after World War I comes to a close. Martin Linwood, suffering from shell-shock and the deaths of his family, has become a civil servant after spending a year in a mental hospital; while Alex Beresford, heir to a large shipping company, is compelled to prove his bravery through reckless peacetime feats, since his parents refused to allow him to fight in the war. Their lives collide when both become smitten with another newcomer to the colony, the writer Thea du Lessier. "So much happens in this novel," Andrea Lee Shuey wrote in Library Journal, "that readers will compulsively turn the pages to the end."
Unsung Heroes and Flight to Anywhere, two of Dawes's novels under her Elizabeth Darrell pseudonym, are set closer to modern times but still deal with the struggles of British warriors. These two books take place within the Hampton Helicopter Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Unsung Heroes centers on three members of the squadron. Randal Price, the flight commander, is good at his job but has less success keeping his gorgeous, cosmopolitan wife happy. Dave Ashmore has lost both his girlfriend (who has agreed to marry his cousin) and his dream of flying, and to his upper-class family's horror he remains with the squadron, not as a glamorous pilot but as a lowly loadmaster. The third protagonist, Maggie Spencer, is fighting to be taken seriously as a female pilot, a job usually held by men. All three characters return in Flight to Anywhere, joined by several new members with their own problems. Unsung Heroes is "a fascinating account of a little-appreciated branch of the armed services," Maria Hatton wrote in Booklist, adding that Flight to Anywhere "accurately and poignantly depicts the daily lives of ordinary people performing extraordinary feats."
Russian Roulette is the first book in the "Max Rydal" military mystery series, which the author writes under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Darrell. The novel introduces readers to Max, a military policeman in the British armed services who finds himself in Germany investigating the murder of Major Leo Bekov, whose body was tied to a post and found by Judith King. As Max investigates, he finds that the murder is complicated by sexual intrigue. Judith, it seems, slept with the major before he was murdered and then was raped the same night by another soldier, although Judith, who was intoxicated, did not remember that she was raped. In the meantime, Max is still not over the fact that his own wife was killed in car crash while riding with her lover. Helping Max on the case is Tom Black. Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, noted the novel's "action-packed plot with Byzantine twists, skillful writing, colorful characters, and a surprise ending."
Max returns in Chinese Puzzle, this time on the case of a series of deaths involving British officers or former officers in the Cumberland Regiment. Working with his partner, Tom, Max investigates the disappearance of another officer, Simon Kington, and discovers that the other deaths were caused by poisonings and made to look like accidents. In the meantime, Simon's father, a wealthy pharmaceutical manufacturer, receives a demand for ransom for Simon's return. While they now have a motive for Simon's disappearance, the two detectives cannot figure out how the other deaths fit in to the puzzle. Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, called Chinese Puzzle "an entertaining police procedural with a military flavor."
Czech Mate, the third book in the "Max Rydal" series, takes place during the Christmas holidays. This volume finds Max and Tom back in Germany looking into a missing military truck and its driver. Then there is an attack on Kevin McRitchie, the son of an officer, at a dress party on base. As Max and Tom investigate, they find that Kevin's family is dysfunctional, with Kevin's father perhaps making untoward advances toward his own daughters. Further complicating matters is the death of a young soldier who was playing in the band at the party. "Less sex and more mystery lift the second of Darrell's police procedurals with a military twist above her debut," wrote a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. The fourth book in the series is titled Dutch Courage and features Max investigating the harassment of the wife of British soldier who has been decorated for bravery while in Afghanistan. Soon the soldier is viciously beaten, and Max senses that he is hiding something.
Dawes told CA: "I've always wanted to write. I began my career at the age of eight producing a weekly magazine for my family to read.
"My life in the military and my interest in how the direction of a person's life can be irrevocably changed by events beyond his or her control.
"I do not have a set daily routine. I write according to the demands of my plot. I can never leave a development unresolved just because the clock tells me it's time for dinner or bed. If I'm not ready to progress the story, I have to wait until inspiration comes.
"My favorite book of mine is At the Going down of the Sun, because I wrote it as a tribute to my father and his four brothers who were all soldiers during the First World War. One of them was killed in Flanders, aged nineteen. I believe my family was representative of most families during 1914-18, so the book is also a tribute to them. During my research I met some wonderful old gentlemen who told me their personal stories. Several became dear friends during the remaining years of their lives. I'll not forget them, any more than I'll forget my father and my uncles."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Booklist, February 1, 1996, Melanie Duncan, review of We Will Remember, p. 916; December 1, 1997, Eric Robbins, review of A Distant Hero, p. 609; August, 1998, Margaret Flanagan, review of Act of Valour, p. 1962; July, 2001, Maria Hatton, review of Unsung Heroes, p. 1978; February 15, 2002, Maria Hatton, review of Flight to Anywhere, p. 997; April 15, 2003, Maria Hatton, review of Forget the Glory, p. 1452; December 1, 2004, Emily Melton, review of Shadows over the Sun, p. 634; November 1, 2005, Emily Melton, review of Russian Roulette, p. 27; August 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of Chinese Puzzle, p. 49; September 15, 2007, Emily Melton, review of Czech Mate, p. 37.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Russian Roulette, p. 1256; August 15, 2007, review of Czech Mate.
Library Journal, December, 1990, Andrea Lee Shuey, review of Some Far Elusive Dawn, p. 160; January, 1998, Jodi L. Israel, review of A Distant Hero, p. 139; April 1, 2002, Michael Rogers, review of The Rice Dragon, p. 147.
Publishers Weekly, November 16, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Some Far Elusive Dawn, p. 46; June 14, 1991, review of That Sweet and Savage Land, p. 45; July 6, 1992, review of A Question of Honour, p. 40; May 16, 1994, review of Concerto, p. 50; December 18, 1995, review of We Will Remember, p. 42; October 20, 1997, review of A Distant Hero, p. 54.