Delinsky, Barbara 1945- (Billie Douglass, Bonnie Drake, Ruth Greenberg)
Delinsky, Barbara 1945- (Billie Douglass, Bonnie Drake, Ruth Greenberg)
Born August 9, 1945, in Boston, MA; daughter of David H. (a lawyer) and Edith Greenberg; married Stephen R. Delinsky (a lawyer), August 20, 1967; children: Eric, Andrew and Jeremy (twins). Education: Tufts University, B.A., 1967; Boston College, M.A., 1969. Hobbies and other interests: Kayaking.
Home—Newton, MA. Agent—Writers House, Inc., 21 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10010.
Children's Protective Services, Boston, MA, sociological researcher, 1968-69; Dover-Sherborn School System, Dover, MA, instructor in photography, 1978-82; also worked as a photographer and reporter for the Belmont Herald, Belmont, MA. Member of board of directors, Beth Israel Hospital Women's Auxiliary, 1976-82, Friends of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 1986—.
Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Romance Writers of America.
Best Contemporary Romance of 1984, Romantic Times, for Finger Prints; Best-Selling Harlequin Temptation of 1984, Waldenbooks, for A Special Something; Golden Leaf Award, New Jersey Chapter of Romance Writers of America, Golden Medallion, Romance Writers of America, both 1987, both for Twilight Whispers; Reviewer's Choice Award, Romantic Times, 1987, for Cardinal Rules; Special Achievement Award for Best Contemporary Novel, Romantic Times, 1988, for Commitments.
"TEMPTATION" ROMANCE NOVELS
A Special Something, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.
Bronze Mystique, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.
The Forever Instinct, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.
Secret of the Stone, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.
Chances Are, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.
First Things First, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.
Straight From the Heart, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
First, Best, and Only, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
Jasmine Sorcery, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
The Real Thing, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
Twelve Across, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.
A Single Rose, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.
Cardinal Rules, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.
Heat Wave, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.
TLC, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.
Fulfillment, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.
Through My Eyes, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.
Montana Man, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.
Having Faith, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
Cross My Heart, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
The Dream, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
The Dream Unfolds, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
The Dream Comes True, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
"CANDLELIGHT ECSTASY" ROMANCE NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM BONNIE DRAKE
The Passionate Touch, Dell (New York, NY), 1981.
Surrender by Moonlight, Dell (New York, NY), 1981.
Sweet Ember, Dell (New York, NY), 1981.
Sensuous Burgundy, Dell (New York, NY), 1981.
The Ardent Protector, Dell (New York, NY), 1982.
Whispered Promise, Dell (New York, NY), 1982.
Lilac Awakening, Dell (New York, NY), 1982.
Amber Enchantment, Dell (New York, NY), 1982.
Lover from the Sea, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.
The Silver Fox, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.
Passion and Illusion, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.
Gemstone, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.
Moment to Moment, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.
"SPECIAL EDITION" ROMANCE NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM BILLIE DOUGLAS
Search for a New Dawn, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1982.
A Time to Love, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1982.
Knightly Love, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1982.
Fast Courting, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
An Irresistible Impulse, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
The Carpenter's Lady, Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
(Under pseudonym Billie Douglass) Sweet Serenity ("Desire" series), Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
(Under pseudonym Billie Douglass) Flip Side of Yesterday ("Desire" series), Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
(Under pseudonym Billie Douglass) Beyond Fantasy ("Desire" series), Silhouette (New York, NY), 1983.
Finger Prints, Worldwide Library (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.
(Under pseudonym Billie Douglass) Variation on a Theme ("Intimate Moments" series), Silhouette (New York, NY), 1985.
Within Reach, Worldwide Library (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
Threats and Promises ("Intrigue" series), Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.
Twilight Whispers, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1987, reprinted, 2005.
Commitments, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1988.
Heart of the Night, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1989.
Facets, Piatkus (London, England), 1991, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2007.
A Woman Betrayed, Piatkus (London, England), 1992.
The Passions of Chelsea Kane, Piatkus (London, England), 1992, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Three Complete Novels, Wings Books (Avenel, NJ), 1993.
Suddenly, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
More than Friends, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
Outsider, Mills & Boon (London, England), 1993.
For My Daughters, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
Together Alone, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
Shades of Grace, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
A Woman's Place, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.
Three Wishes, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Coast Road, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.
Rekindled, HarperTorch (New York, NY), 1998.
Lake News, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
The Vineyard, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
The Woman Next Door, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
An Accidental Woman, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Flirting with Pete, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
The Summer I Dared, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.
Looking for Peyton Place, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.
Family Tree, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2006.
Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Does a Lobsterman Wear Pants? And 184 other Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask about Lobsters and Lobstering, drawings by Rob Groves, Down East Books (Camden, MA), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Writing and Selling the Romance Novel, edited by Sylvia K. Burack, The Writer, 1983; and How to Write a Romance and Get It Published: With Intimate Advice from the World's Most Popular Romance Writers, edited by Sylvia K. Burack, Crown (New York, NY), 1983. Contributor to periodicals, including the Writer. Books have been translated into twenty-five languages.
Three Wishes, For My Daughters, A Woman's Place, and Coast Road have been adapted for television. Books have been adapted for audio, including Flirting With Pete, Simon & Schuster Audio, 2003; An Accidental Woman, BBC Audiobooks America, 2003; Twilight Whispers, Brilliance Audio, 2005; and Looking for Peyton Place, Recorded Books, 2006.
Barbara Delinsky is the author of numerous well-received romance novels, some under her own name and some under the pseudonyms Billie Douglass and Bonnie Drake. Most of her work under the pseudonyms occurred early in her career and involved the creation of fairly simple plot scenarios; as she has garnered increasing success as a writer, she has created "longer, more complex" books under her own name, noted a Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers contributor. The contributor also commented that Delinsky "writes with great compassion, sensitivity, and style and maintains both the rhythm and flow of multiple narrative lines." The contributor added: "[She is] a true professional with great talent, [who] should be considered in the top echelon of contemporary romance writers."
Delinsky's early work usually focused on the romance between the hero and the heroine, with some quirky situations providing additional interest. In A Special Something, for example, heroine Leslie Parish jokingly tells a friend that for her birthday gift, she wants a handsome model from a magazine advertisement. The friend contrives to "give" Leslie the man from the photograph. In First Things First, a woman who makes her living finding missing and runaway children is hired by a wealthy socialite to find her forty-year-old son, an executive; romance ensues. A somewhat similar situation results in The Outsider, with the twist being that the "detective" is from another planet, searching for a fellow alien—one who is living a human life on Earth and is unaware of her background.
Delinsky made the jump from paperback romances to hardcover originals with her 1994 book For My Daughters. A Publishers Weekly contributor rated it "a thoroughly enjoyable weeper in which passion and family bonds are both victorious." The story concerns Ginny St. Clair, a wealthy widow who arranges a meeting between her three warring daughters at her mansion on Maine's rocky coast. The siblings trade barbs and the youngest, Leah, has a torrid affair with the groundskeeper, echoing an episode in Ginny's life many years before. For My Daughters was a popular success, and marked the beginning of a new era in Delinsky's career. Together Alone, Shades of Grace, and A Woman's Place solidified her reputation as a winning author of hardcover novels.
Three Wishes, her 1997 title, drew particularly strong reviews. It tells of Bree, a solitary Vermont waitress whose life is changed forever when she is struck by a Jeep while walking home from work. While unconscious, Bree is comforted by a bright light and told that she will return to life and be granted three wishes before dying again. Recovering, Bree falls in love with the man responsible for the accident. They make a happy life together, but as her wishes begin to come true, Bree is haunted by the certainty that she will die after the third is granted. "In less steady hands, so conveniently sentimental a premise could have easily slipped into bathos," commented Cynthia Sanz in People, who maintained that the author "steers clear of treacle." A Publishers Weekly contributor was similarly enthusiastic, stating that though the book centers around love, "Delinsky manages to avoid romantic slush—and she capably balances her narrative on the tightrope between spirituality and earthly love."
An automobile accident is also central to the plot in Coast Road. In that story, Jack McGill is drawn to his ex-wife's side when he learns she has been injured and lies in a coma. He moves into her house to care for their two daughters, but as he thinks back over his years with Rachel, he finds himself longing to win her back. The book is "filled with heartache, self-discovery, and renewal," advised Mary Ellen Elsbernd in Library Journal. Melanie Duncan also recommended Coast Road, writing in Booklist: "Delinsky delivers an emotion-packed journey of truth and redemption, firmly cementing her status as a best-selling writer of top-notch books."
In 1999's Lake News, Delinsky crafts a story about Lily Blake, a singer and music teacher who, after being falsely accused by the press of a scandalous relationship with a Cardinal, moves to her hometown, Lake Henry, in New Hampshire to find peace and reestablishment. Lily soon meets the town newspaper's editor, John Kipling, who himself is battling personal problems and who comes to the aid of Lily, leading to romance. Barbara E. Kemp in Library Journal maintained that "Delinsky … spins another engrossing story of strength in the face of cataclysmic life changes." A Publishers Weekly contributor, though commenting that Delinsky's efforts at times for a "rural New Hampshire dialect" in her prose are "awkward," stated that the author "plots this satisfying, gentle romance with the sure hand of an expert."
Flirting with Pete features Casey Ellis, whose father dies and leaves her his swanky townhouse along with segments of a diary written by Jenny Clyde, who has disappeared with a man called Pete. In the meantime, Jenny's father, who has been in jail for murdering Jenny's mother, is about to released, spurring Casey to use Jenny's diary to learn more about the sexual abuse Jenny describes at the hands of her father and to gain clues to Jenny's whereabouts. Carol Haggas, writing in Booklist, commented that the author "delivers a scintillating study of each woman's search for answers and absolution."
In An Accidental Woman, Micah Smith is content with his lover Heather Malone until the FBI shows up one day in their small town and arrests her for being a wanted fugitive. Heather is accused of murdering the son of a wealthy man fourteen years earlier. While the whole town begins to wonder whether or not Heather has been living a lie all of these years, Micah and Heather's best friend Poppy, crippled in an accident years earlier, believe that Heather is really the wonderful woman she has seemed to be. With the help of a journalist, Micah and Poppy set out to prove Heather's innocence. Roberta O'Hara, writing on the Bookreporter.com Web site, called the novel "a strong mystery and compelling character piece."
The Summer I Dared revolves around a boating accident that kills nine people but spares three others. The survivors are the married Julia, Noah, and Kim, who may have been responsible for the boat sinking. As a romance develops between Julia and Noah, all three survivors must reevaluate their lives and their futures. Carol Haggas, writing in Booklist, noted that the author "excels at combining a compelling mystery with an insightful portrayal of captivating people facing challenges both ordinary and dramatic."
Delinsky's novel Looking for Peyton Place tells the story of successful author Annie Barnes's return to her home town to investigate the death of her mother, which may have been due to mercury poisoning stemming from environmental pollution. It just so happens that Middle River, New Hampshire, was also the home town of author Grace Metalious, who used it as a model for her famous novel Peyton Place. Townspeople fear that Annie is really there to write another novel putting the town and its people in a bad light, and some of them set out to stop her. Booklist contributor Carol Haggas noted that the author "is at her best, skillfully weaving elements of a tantalizing mystery and titillating romance." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "high-grade romance energized by environmental awareness."
In the 2006 novel, Family Tree, Delinsky weaves a tale of suspicion and racial prejudice. Hugh Clarke, who is from an elite family, and his wife, Dana, have a child. However the child's dark skin and curly hair lead Clarke's family to question who is really the child's father. When a DNA test is performed, Hugh is proven to be the father and also the one who passed on the sickle-cell gene to the child. "Delinsky vigorously takes on some thorny racial assumptions here … and admirably allows her characters to acknowledge and correct their biases," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Writing in Booklist, Patty Engelmann commented that the author "adds thought-provoking concerns about race in America to the mix in a novel that will stir debate and inspire self-examination."
Delinsky once told CA: "Above and beyond the ability to put words to paper, the writing of romance requires a love of romance. When I first discovered the romantic novel I felt as if I'd come home, as though there were indeed others in the world who loved love and beauty and idealism as I did. I try to express these sentiments in my books and in doing so I find myself inextricably involved with my plot, my setting, and, most critically, my characters. Writing has come to me to be a form of self-expression, a digging into roots, a sharing of and elaboration on so many of the wonderful experiences in life I've been privileged to have. I believe that a writer, of whatever genre, cannot possibly be successful without this kind of intense personal involvement.
"During the past few years, as the genre of romance has come out of the closet, there are many who have eyed the writers of romance as people who ‘churn out’ books for the sake of the dollar bill alone. Impossible! Such writers never make it out of the slush pile, for their works inevitably reflect their baser motivations. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to find a place in the genre work hard. We don't ‘churn out’ books; rather, we discipline ourselves to work every day, pushing our minds to their limits, finding creative niches within that we never dreamed we possessed. We agonize over the dilemmas of our characters, and struggle to put into words emotions that, far too often in an age of computerization, are either taken for granted or simply ignored. In turn, we are rewarded with feelings of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. Never, never can a price tag be put on such feelings."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Falk, Kathryn, editor, Love's Leading Ladies, Pinnacle Books (New York, NY), 1982.
Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Booklist, May 1, 1998, Melanie Duncan, review of Coast Road, p. 1477; May 1, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of Flirting with Pete, p. 1507; April 15, 2004, Carol Haggas, review of The Summer I Dared, p. 1404; June 1, 2005, Carol Haggas, review of Looking for Peyton Place, p. 1752; October 15, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Family Tree, p. 4.
Daily Variety, September 20, 2002, Lily Oei, "Delinsky Signs 3-book Deal," p. 67.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2005, review of Looking for Peyton Place, p. 557; November 1, 2006, review of Family Tree, p. 1090.
Library Journal, July, 1998, Mary Ellen Elsbernd, review of Coast Road, p. 134; June 15, 1999, Barbara E. Kemp, review of Lake News, p. 105; May 15, 2003, Samantha Gust, review of Flirting with Pete, p. 123; June 15, 2005, Samantha J. Gust, review of Looking for Peyton Place, p. 57.
People, November 3, 1997, Cynthia Sanz, review of Three Wishes, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, July 4, 1994, review of For My Daughters, p. 30; July 28, 1997, review of Three Wishes, p. 53; May 24, 1999, review of Lake News, p. 62; May 5, 2003, review of Flirting with Pete, p. 196; May 23, 2005, review of Looking for Peyton Place, p. 54.
Barbara Delinsky Home Page,http://www.barbaradelinsky.com (December 28, 2006).
Barnes & Noble.com,http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (December 28, 2006), profile of and interview with author.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (December 28, 2006), "Meet the Author: Barbara Delinsky."
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (July 26, 2002), interview with author; (December 28, 2006), Terry Miller Shannon, review of Looking for Peyton Place; Marie Hashima Lofton, review of Twilight Whispers; Amie Taylor, review of The Summer I Dared; Judy Gigstad, review of Flirting with Pete; Roberta O'Hara, review of An Accidental Woman; Debbie Ann Weiner, review of The Woman Next Door; Carol Fitzgerald, review of Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors; Marge Fletcher, review of Lake News; Dana H. Schwartz, review of Coast Road; and Barbara Gershenbaum, review of Heart of the Night.
Writers Write,http://www.writerswrite.com/ (December 28, 2006), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with Barbara Delinsky."