PERSONAL: Born in TX. Married to a university professor. Education: Has degree in sociology.
ADDRESSES: Home and office— Cleveland, TN. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Has held a variety of jobs, including computer software trainer, personnel recruiter, and administrative assistant.
MEMBER: Romance Writers of America.
Courting Claudia, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2005.
A Study in Scandal, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Deliciously Wicked, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Tempted at Every Turn, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2007.
SIDELIGHTS: Robyn DeHart is “one of those writers who always knew that she wanted to be a writer,” as she put it on her Web site. She did not always know what type of writing she wanted to do, but she decided to try penning romance novels after reading A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. DeHart elaborated on the appeal of romance writing in an interview with Cathy Sova for Romance Reader, saying: “I’m drawn to the basics of the genre. I love happy endings. And I love watching characters grow and change.” She added that she likes to see a protagonist not only find love but “come into her own.”
The eponymous heroine of her first novel, Courting Claudia, is a nineteenth-century Englishwoman who comes into her own through an unconventional career as an illustrator, her romance with a dashing newspaper editor, and her rebellion against the control of her sinister and manipulative father. Claudia, who has felt unattractive because of her plumpness, also learns that “beauty comes in all shapes and sizes,” DeHart told Sova. Romance Reader reviewer Wendy Livingston praised DeHart’s writing style as “concise” and “skillful,” noting further that “the descriptions are very good and the dialogue is easy to read.”
DeHart’s next novel, A Study in Scandal, is also set in Victorian England and is the first in a series on the Ladies’ Amateur Sleuth Society, a group of women who get together to discuss mysteries. When an Egyptian sculpture is stolen from the father of society founder Lady Amelia Watersfield, the outgoing Amelia joins with stoic private detective Colin Brindley to find it. As he begins to open up to her, they fall in love. “The dialogue between them can be fast and furious,” related Susan Tam in the online publication Road to Romance. Their relationship, observed a Publishers Weekly critic, is “at turns competitive, comical and sexy.” The Publishers Weekly commentator thought the novel’s love scenes were better than its mystery, saying the latter “drags.” Tam, though, found the book satisfying overall. “It is a great start for this series!” she remarked.
The series continues with Deliciously Wicked, which focuses on another woman in the Ladies’ Amateur Sleuth Society, Meg Piddington. Meg, more independent than many women of her time, is assisting in the management of her family’s chocolate factory when she meets Gareth, an appealing man who has just started working there. They are attracted to each other, and when he is accused of a theft—falsely—Meg and the other society members set out to find the real thief. Some critics summed up the novel as light entertainment. It “offers some chuckles and intrigue,” not a “vortex of drama,” reported Shannon Johnson on the Web site Romance Reader at Heart. Such a story, she added, is sometimes “refreshing.” A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the romance well-done but the mystery “anemic.” The critic allowed, however, that some readers “may enjoy DeHart’s breezy style.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, review of A Study in Scandal, p. 67; August 7, 2006, review of Deliciously Wicked, p. 38.
Chicago Tribune, November 19, 2006, John Charles, review of Deliciously Wicked.
Road to Romance, http://www.roadtoromance.ca/ (February, 2006), Susan Tam, review of A Study in Scandal.
Robyn DeHart Home Page, http://www.robyndehart.com (December 21, 2006).
Romance Reader, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (December 21, 2006), Cathy Sova, interview with Robyn DeHart; Wendy Livingston, review of Courting Claudia.
Romance Reader at Heart, http://romancereaderatheart.com/ (October 6, 2006), Shannon Johnson, review of Deliciously Wicked.