Dodd, Christina

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Dodd, Christina

PERSONAL:

Married; children: two.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Former draftsman in an engineering firm; romance novelist.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Golden Heart award, and RITA Award, both from Romance Writers of America, both for Candle in the Window.

WRITINGS:

Candle in the Window, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

Priceless, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Lady in Black, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Castles in the Air, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

The Greatest Lover in All England, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.

Move Heaven and Earth, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

Once a Knight, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

A Knight to Remember, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

A Well-pleasured Lady, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

A Well-favored Gentleman, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.

That Scandalous Evening, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.

Treasure of the Sun, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.

Outrageous, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.

Someday My Prince, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.

The Runaway Princess, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.

My Favorite Bride, Avon (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Connie Brockway) Once upon a Pillow, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2002.

One Kiss from You, Avon (New York, NY), 2003.

Scandalous Again, Avon (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to omnibus volumes, including Tall, Dark, and Dangerous, 1994; One Night with a Rogue, 1995; Scottish Brides, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999; My Scandalous Bride (includes The Lady and the Tiger and excerpts from Almost like Being in Love), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004; and Hero, Come Back, 2005.

"LOST TEXAS HEARTS" SERIES

Just the Way You Are, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Almost like Being in Love, Avon (New York, NY), 2004.

Close to You, Avon (New York, NY), 2005.

"GOVERNESS BRIDES" SERIES

Rules of Surrender, Avon (New York, NY), 2000.

Rules of Engagement, Avon (New York, NY), 2000.

Rules of Attraction, Avon (New York, NY), 2001.

In My Wildest Dreams, Avon (New York, NY), 2001.

Lost in Your Arms, Avon (New York, NY), 2002.

My Fair Temptress, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2005.

(Author of foreword) Georgette Heyer, The Toll-gate, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2005.

"LOST PRINCESS" SERIES

Some Enchanted Evening, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.

The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Barefoot Princess, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.

"FORTUNE HUNTERS" SERIES

Trouble in High Heels, Signet Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Tongue in Chic, Signet (New York, NY), 2007.

"DARKNESS CHOSEN" SERIES

Scent of Darkness, Signet (New York, NY), 2007.

Touch of Darkness, Signet (New York, NY), 2007.

Into the Shadow, Signet (New York, NY), 2008.

Into the Flame, Signet (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Christina Dodd is known for adding sensuality and quite a bit of humor to the romance genre. As she told Claire E. White in an interview for the Writers Write Web site, "Romance is about the fusion of one man and one woman, and this is intrinsically, hysterically funny. A woman wants things like world peace, a clean house, and a deep and meaningful relationship. A man wants things like a Craftsman router with attachments, undisputed control of the TV remote, and a red Corvette which will miraculously make his bald spot disappear."

After years of quietly rewriting the endings of stories that dissatisfied her, Dodd decided to pursue writing seriously when she quit her job as a draftsman after giving birth to her daughter. Her third manuscript, Candle in the Window, was her first published novel, much to her surprise. In fact, since the heroine was a blind woman, Dodd had very little hope for it, but her agent disagreed. So did readers and her colleagues. Romance Writers of America gave it a Golden Heart and a RITA award, and Dodd has received more fan mail for this book than for any of her subsequent titles.

Other stories by Dodd have also featured unusual characters for romance. In Move Heaven and Earth Lord Rand Malkin has returned from the Napoleonic Wars disabled and traumatized by the horrors he has seen. Sylvan Miles has also gone to war to nurse the soldiers, only to be branded a whore by society. Eventually, she takes a job with Lord Malkin, and these two wounded characters find solace in a relationship "charged with well-wrought and electric eroticism," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Another atypical hero pops up in Once a Knight. When Lady Alisoun is threatened by a mysterious assassin, she seeks out the king's champion to protect her. Unfortunately, the legendary Sir David turns out to be a broken-down has-been; but, eventually, the aloof heroine and the seemingly weak hero find unusual strength in each other.

After flirting with medieval settings, Dodd returned to the ever-popular Regency Britain for A Well-pleasured Lady, a "highly sensual story of intrigue," in the words of Library Journal reviewer Kristin Ramsdell. When prim Lady Mary Fairchild flees her dissolute family, she takes on a new role as housekeeper Mary Rottenson. Unfortunately, Viscount Whitfield, an enemy of her family, spots her and blackmails her into helping him retrieve a stolen diary, and ultimately to uncover a murder. Reviewers noted that the sensuality here is more apparent than in Dodd's previous works. As Dodd told an online interviewer for the All about Romance Web site, since this "was the first of my books to come out with my normal, unedited frankness, it startled some of the readers." The sequel, A Well-favored Gentleman, further details the lives of the mysterious Fairchilds and their connection to selkies, seals who can assume human form at will. Once again, Dodd revealed a propensity to take chances, and a Publishers Weekly reviewer found that "this fairy tale is deep and dark, and perhaps not for everyone."

The Runaway Princess again charmed many readers with its strong-willed heroine, a woman who is subjected to the insistent attentions of the crown prince of Baminia because he is convinced that she is his long-lost fiancée destined to share his crown. It is a typical Dodd twist on the old Cinderella formula so popular in romance, and it takes quite a while for Miss Evangeline Scoffield to give in to the prophecies and the gorgeous prince's refusal to take "no" for an answer. Even then, she must face the perils of war and assassination attempts before she can fulfill her destiny. A Publishers Weekly reviewer predicted that "Dodd's delightful story should gain glowing reviews from her growing horde of fans."

Dodd is also known for her popular "Governess Bride" series, which she launched with Rules of Surrender. When Miss Charlotte Dalrumple is hired as a governess for the grandchildren of Viscountess Ruskin, she is startled to discover that their father, Lord Wynter, needs her services as well. As a young man, Lord Wynter ran away to sea, was captured and sold into slavery, and became a nomadic merchant. Only when his life is threatened does he return to his ancestral home, and now it is up to Miss Dalrumple to give him and his children the refinement they will need to assume their place in society. Naturally, "the ruggedly handsome lord took it upon himself to teach the prim governess the ways of love," reported Levi Pidazo on the AllReaders.com Web site.

In Rules of Engagement, Miss Dalrumple's alma mater, the Distinguished Academy of Governesses, is threatened with ruin when someone steals its monthly income. So co-owner Pamela Lockhart agrees to take on a slightly disreputable assignment. The earl of Kerrich, a banker who handles royal funds, needs a mature governess to acquire an orphan and gain respectability in the eyes of Queen Victoria. Beautiful Pamela disguises herself as an older, plainer woman, and rescues young Beth from an orphanage. Charmed by his governess's self-possession, the earl is soon relishing their sparring matches. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found that "Dodd's beautifully rendered love story expertly portrays the growth and maturity that develops in the course of realizing true love."

In Rules of Attraction Hannah Setterington, one-time head of the Distinguished Academy of Governesses, takes a position as the companion to the aunt of the Marquess of Raeburn. In the process, however, Hannah gets much more than she bargained for, discovering that the Marquess is actually the husband she ran away from nine years previously. Now the two are cast together again with surprising results, in this "compelling tale," as Library Journal reviewer Kristin Ramsdell termed the novel. On the other hand, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly was less impressed, noting, "Although Dodd has an ear for dialogue and a skillful hand, her fiction is a troubling mixture of romance and hostility." The same contributor did feel, though, that Dodd's "many fans are sure to enjoy this one."

The series continues with In My Wildest Dreams, featuring Celeste, a gardener's daughter and graduate of Distinguished Academy of Governesses, who returns to her roots, taking a position as governess to the daughter of local lord, Ellery Throckmorton, for whom she has long had a passion. Ellery's older brother, however, has marriage plans of his own for his younger brother. Romantic Times Online Web site contributor Kathe Robin praised Dodd's "delightful take on the classic Sabrina storyline." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed the book a "delicious, witty confection." The fifth series entry, Lost in Your Arms, provides a diversion from other novels in the series, for its protagonist, Enid MacLean, is a nurse, not a governess. Her goodwill is tested when the husband who abandoned her years before returns from the Crimean War badly in need of medical assistance. As she nurses the man back to health, she begins to wonder if he really is her husband. A Publishers Weekly contributor complained of the "overwrought characters and contrived plot twists" in this "weak entry." However, John Charles, writing in Library Journal, found more to like in this book, terming it "a treat for readers with a taste for sizzling sensual historicals."

My Favorite Bride continues the series, featuring strong-willed Samantha Pendregast, who does not suffer fools gladly and frequently changes positions as a governess as a result. She is banished now to the Lake District, there to care for the six wild daughters of Colonel William Gregory. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote, "The Sound of Music meets Jane Eyre in [this] refreshingly humorous addition."

A government spy acting to prevent the assassination of Queen Victoria crosses paths with a noblewoman fallen on hard times in seventh addition to the "Governess Brides" series. Lady Caroline's one ability seems to be the power to flirt creatively, and at first this hardly seems a useful skill at the Distinguished Academy of Governesses. However, when one Jude Durant requests a lady to educate him in such matters, it seems a perfect match. Little does Lady Caroline realize, however, that Jude is using her in his secret mission to save the queen. Writing on the Romantic Times Online Web site, Robin found this a "delicious addition." Robin went on to note, "Dodd is clever, witty and sexy, and her fans know it."

Dodd has also ventured into contemporary romance with Just the Way You Are, which features sisters separated after the tragic death of their parents. The story begins as a comedy of manners when Hope Prescott, who works for an answering service, gets a call from a wealthy, notoriously cold businessman. Thinking it is his butler, she reveals her contempt for the rich, and eventually he decides to meet her. Eventually, his attentions turn more predatory, and Hope must decide what she wants. In Almost like Being in Love Hope's long-lost sister, Pepper, gets caught up in a world of intrigue when she witnesses her idol, self-help guru Jennifer Napier, shoot somebody at a book signing. Booklist reviewer Diana Tixier Herald predicted that "this enticing standalone sequel will leave readers eager for the rest of Dodd's Prescott saga."

The third novel in the series, Close to You, appeared in 2005. With this, Dodd, as a Publishers Weekly contributor observed, "delivers a high-octane, blow-out finale to her series." Here, Caitlin Prescott, a television reporter, moves to Austin, Texas, there to take on a high-pressure and high-paying job. When she becomes the target of a stalker, bodyguard Teague Ramos is hired to protect her. Ultimately, their connection leads to the unraveling of secrets about Caitlin's birth. The Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the "white-hot action and sizzling sensuality [that] power Dodd's tale from its gripping first chapter to its supremely satisfying finale."

Dodd ventures into a contemporary paranormal-and-romance blend with her "Darkness Chosen" series, inaugurated with the 2007 Scent of Darkness. The first novel features the ever-dependable executive assistant Ann Smith, who has harbored an infatuation for her boss, Jasha Wilder, for years, only to learn that he is actually a were-wolf. Not only that, but he is in a life-and-death struggle with the Devil. Booklist reviewer Nina C. Davis noted of this novel: "A multilayered heroine and a sizzling-hot hero give readers plenty of emotional—and physical—action." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer found the same novel a "satisfying series kickoff." The series moved forward with Touch of Darkness, in which more members of the Wilder clan are featured. Here, Rurik Wilder hopes to find a talisman that will break the evil spell ensnaring his family. He enlists the aid of journalist Tasya Hunnicutt in this endeavor, and what results is, according to Booklist reviewer Charles, a "steamy, sexy romance, an action-packed plot, and a generous splash of the paranormal."

The "Lost Princess" series is a historical trilogy featuring three royal sisters who are forced to leave their country after a revolution. The first novel, Some Enchanted Evening, features Clarice Lilly, who finds danger and love in the Highlands. Romantic Times Online Web site reviewer Robin noted, "This witty, emotionally powerful, lively romance sparkles with humor and intrigue." Booklist writer Diana Tixier Herald also had praise for the work, observing that "Dodd has done a smashing job with this spicy, swashbuckling Regency-era romance." The Barefoot Princess features younger sister Amy, who kidnaps a marquess only to have great difficulty in getting anyone to pay his ransom. Charles, writing in Booklist, termed this a "wickedly entertaining, lusciously sensual romance." The trilogy comes to a close with The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, dealing with the adventures of the third royal sister, Sorcha, who finds great difficulty, as well as romance, while attempting to return to her tiny kingdom of Beaumontagne. Booklist reviewer Charles found this a "splendidly satisfying conclusion" to the series.

With her "Fortune Hunters" series, Dodd delivers a mixture of contemporary suspense, comedy, and romance. The series begins with Trouble in High Heels, in which attorney Brandi Michaels finds that her intended has eloped with his pregnant girlfriend. She decides to bury her sadness by seducing a handsome count, only to learn that he is a jewel thief to whose case she has been assigned. Things get stickier for Brandi when a judge in turn puts the count in her custody. Romantic Times Online Web site reviewer Jill M. Smith praised Dodd's recipe for this book: "Take one feisty and furious heroine, add one devastatingly sexy thief and you have the necessary ingredients for a remarkable romp." Further praise came from Booklist contributor Charles, who termed the book "another winning combination of the author's trademark smart and snappy writing, delightfully original characters, and deliciously sensual romance." The second novel in the series, Tongue in Chic, features spirited Meadow Szarvas, who feigns amnesia when caught breaking into her old family home. This backfires on her, however, when the current owner, Devlin Fitzwilliam, takes advantage of her ruse to claim that she is actually his wife, though she can not remember it now because of her amnesia. For Booklist reviewer Charles, this book was one more example of Dodd's "superbly sexy literary confections expertly spiced with sassy wit and featuring a beguiling cast of wonderfully entertaining characters."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2001, review of Rules of Engagement, p. 211; June 1, 2002, John Charles, review of Once upon a Pillow, p. 1693; June 1, 2003, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Just the Way You Are, p. 1752; May 15, 2004, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Some Enchanted Evening, p. 1603; June 1, 2004, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Almost like Being in Love, p. 1710; February 15, 2006, John Charles, review of The Barefoot Princess, p. 52; July 1, 2006, John Charles, review of Trouble in High Heels, p. 41; November 15, 2006, John Charles, review of The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, p. 36; February 15, 2007, John Charles, review of Tongue in Chic, p. 42; July 1, 2007, Nina C. Davis, review of Scent of Darkness, p. 40; October 1, 2007, John Charles, review of Touch of Darkness, p. 39.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of Some Enchanted Evening, p. 471.

Library Journal, August, 1997, Kristin Ramsdell, review of A Well-pleasured Lady, p. 70; February 15, 1998, Kristin Ramsdell, review of A Well-favored Gentleman, p. 128; February 15, 1999, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Runaway Princess, p. 138; February 15, 2001, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Runaway Princess and The Rules of Attraction, p. 153; February 15, 2002, John Charles, review of Lost in Your Arms, p. 129; February 15, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Scandalous Again, p. 121; May 15, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, Just the Way You Are, p. 74.

MBR Bookwatch, May, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Close to You.

Publishers Weekly, July 17, 1995, review of Move Heaven and Earth, p. 227; March 11, 1996, review of Once a Knight, p. 57; June 16, 1997, review of A Well-pleasured Lady, p. 57; February 2, 1998, review of A Well-favored Gentleman, p. 87; July 20, 1998, review of That Scandalous Evening, p. 215; January 25, 1999, review of The Runaway Princess, p. 93; June 7, 1999, review of Someday My Prince, p. 80; September 11, 2000, review of Rules of Engagement, p. 74; February 5, 2001, review of Rules of Attraction, p. 73; September 10, 2001, review of In My Wildest Dreams, p. 68; February 18, 2002, review of Lost in Your Arms, p. 81; August 5, 2002, review of My Favorite Bride, p. 59; February 3, 2003, review of Scandalous Again, p. 61; April 21, 2003, review of Just the Way You Are, p. 44; May 3, 2003, review of My Scandalous Bride, p. 177; September 15, 2003, review of One Kiss from You, p. 50; May 3, 2004, review of My Scandalous Bride, p. 177; May 24, 2004, review of Some Enchanted Evening, p. 41; May 31, 2004, review of Almost like Being in Love, p. 57; March 21, 2005, review of Close to You, p. 40; January 23, 2006, review of The Barefoot Princess, p. 192; June 19, 2006, review of Trouble in High Heels, p. 45; May 28, 2007, review of Scent of Darkness, p. 43.

ONLINE

All about Romance,http://www.likesbooks.com/ (February 18, 2000), Laurie, "A Well-pleasured Woman: A Q&A with Christina Dodd."

AllReaders.com,http://www.allreaders.com/ (December 14, 2004), Harriet Klausner, reviews of In My Wildest Dreams, Lost in Your Arms, Just the Way You Are, One Kiss from You, Scandalous Again, Almost like Being in Love, and My Favorite Bride; Levi Pidazo, reviews of A Well-favored Gentleman, Lady in Black, and Rules of Surrender; Kelly Lowe, reviews of The Runaway Princess and A Well-pleasured Lady; Christine G., reviews of That Scandalous Evening and Move Heaven and Earth; and Kim Mills, review of Rules of Attraction.

Christina Dodd Home Page,http://www.christinadodd.com (January 27, 2008).

Dear Author,http://www.dearauthor.com/ (August 16, 2007), review of Touch of Darkness.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (January 27, 2008), Jill M. Smith, reviews of Touch of Darkness, Scent of Darkness, Tongue in Chic, and Trouble in High Heels, Kathe Robin, reviews of My Fair Temptress, Some Enchanted Evening, One Kiss from You, Scandalous Again, Lost in Your Arms, In My Wildest Dreams, and Someday My Prince.

Writers Write,http://www.writerswrite.com/ (December 14, 2000), Claire E. White, "Talking Romance with Christina Dodd."