Feather, Jane (Claudia Bishop)

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Feather, Jane (Claudia Bishop)

PERSONAL:

Born in Cairo, Egypt; immigrated to England; immigrated to the United States, 1981; married; children: three. Education: Studied social work.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Washington, DC.

CAREER:

Author. Former psychiatric social worker.

WRITINGS:

ROMANCE NOVELS

Where the Heart Is, Jove (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted in 2002.

Smuggler's Lady, Zebra Books, (New York, NY), 1986.

Beloved Enemy, Zebra Books, (New York, NY), 1987.

Reckless Seduction, Zebra Books, (New York, NY), 1987.

Chase the Dawn, Zebra Books, (New York, NY), 1988.

Heart's Folly, Avon Books, (New York, NY), 1988, rereleased as Venus, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Love's Charade, Zebra Books, (New York, NY), 1989.

Reckless Angel, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Silver Nights, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Brazen Whispers, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1990, reissued as Almost Innocent, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Bold Destiny, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1990, reprinted in 1999.

Eagle and the Dove, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1991.

A Valentine Wedding, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.

A Wicked Gentleman, Pocket Star (New York, NY), 2007.

"ALMOST" DUOLOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

Almost a Bride, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Almost a Lady, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.

"V" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS

Virtue, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1993.

Vixen, Fanfare (New York, NY), 1994.

Violet, Bantam Books, (New York, NY), 1995.

Valentine, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1996.

Vanity, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1997.

Vice, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Two Complete Novels (contains Vice and Virtue), Wings Books (New York, NY), 2007.

"CHARM BRACELET" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS

Diamond Slipper, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1996.

The Silver Rose, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1997.

The Emerald Swan, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1998.

"BRIDE" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

Hostage Bride, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Accidental Bride, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.

The Least Likely Bride, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2000.

"KISS" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS

The Widow's Kiss, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2001.

To Kiss a Spy, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Kissed by Shadows, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2003.

"DUNCAN SISTERS" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS

The Bachelor List, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Bride Hunt, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2004.

The Wedding Game, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Bachelor/Bride Hunt (omnibus), 2004.

UNDER THE NAME, CLAUDIA BISHOP

Irresistable You, Berkley Publishing Group (New York, NY), 1984

That Champagne Feeling, Jove (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted under the name Jane Feather in 2002.

OTHER

(With Elizabeth Elliott, Patricia Coughlin, and Sharon & Tom Curtis) When You Wish, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1997.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jane Feather, who has also written under the name Claudia Bishop, is a best-selling author of historical romance novels. In stories set from the days of King Henry VIII through the Regency and Victorian periods, her plots have ranged from the lighthearted to more serious and sensual works. The "Charm Bracelet" trilogy, for instance, is set in early eighteenth-century England; the "Duncan Sisters" books during the early 1900s; and the "Bride" novels are set during the English Civil War. No matter the subject or period, however, the author has been frequently praised for her use of historic details and her strong heroines.

In some series, Feather injects political intrigue and espionage into her romances. This is the case with her "Kiss" titles, which involve the turbulent reign of Henry VIII. Central to the plot of The Widow's Kiss are Lady Guinevere Mallory, four times a widow, and Hugh of Beaucaire, who first meets Guinevere when he claims that his son should be a beneficiary of her fourth husband's estate. Guinevere's last husband's death is somewhat suspicious, and Hugh's pursuit of the matter results in her unexpectedly being sent to the Tower of London. The question becomes whether his growing passion for her will lead Hugh to rescue Guinevere. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the novel for its "fine characterizations, sound historical background and an effective evocation of the precarious times."

The sequels To Kiss a Spy and Kissed by Shadows revolve around Guinevere's daughters, the Ladies Penelope and Pippa. As an attendant to Princess Mary, Penelope becomes involved in the politics of Catholics versus Protestants after the death of King Henry. In Kissed by Shadows, Pippa, who is close to the out-of-favor Princess Elizabeth, becomes similarly embroiled in court politics. "Passion and intrigue abound in this lusty yet dignified bodice-ripper," remarked a Publishers Weekly writer about To Kiss a Spy. Reviewing Kissed by Shadows, State critic Lezlie Patterson was put off by the opening scene in which Pippa "is molested by the king of England." Patterson also found the heroine unsympathetic because she is a married woman who has an affair in the story. Patty Engelmann, writing for Booklist, nevertheless considered it a "fascinating follow-up to To Kiss a Spy."

Feather's "Bride" trilogy is about three female friends who vow never to marry, only to have various circumstances and entanglements thwart their plans during the time of the English Civil War. In Hostage Bride, for example, young Portia is kidnapped by a loyalist of King Charles. Her kidnappers find they cannot get the ransom, though; meanwhile, Portia finds herself falling for one of the noblemen. Although a Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the author's dialogue at times becomes overly melodramatic, the critic asserted that she "does a good job of capturing the period." The Least Likely Bride has a similar scenario: Olivia Granville is captured by a loyalist pirate, with the natural result being high-seas adventure and romance. Ann Bouricius, writing for Booklist, described the novel as a "quick, vivid, and upbeat" tale.

In one of her lighter series, the "Duncan Sisters" trilogy, Feather tells of three sisters who establish a newspaper in turn-of-the-twentieth-century England to help pay for their father's debts. They use the paper to publish high-society gossip, start a matchmaking service, and promote the suffragette cause. Naturally, in the male-dominated society of the time, the women's newspaper draws attention from various men, several of whom fall in love with the sisters over the course of the three novels. "The sisters' camaraderie, as well as the women's history, will hook teens," predicted Patty Engelmann in her Booklist assessment of the first novel, The Bachelor List. A Publishers Weekly critic, meanwhile, felt that Feather's attempt to address women's rights in this book was "laudable, but many readers will end this tale with doubts that the protagonists' happy ending will be everlasting."

In The Bride Hunt, the second "Duncan Sisters" book, the sisters are—not surprisingly—sued. One of the siblings, Prudence, approaches an attorney for help, with predictable results. "Interesting characters keep the sensual story lively, proving once again why Feather is so very popular," commented Engelmann in another Booklist review. A Publishers Weekly critic described it as a "charming romp through 19th-century London." The final installment, The Wedding Game, has the third, yet-unmarried sister, Chastity, becoming enamored of a doctor. He at first seems to be a greedy and conniving man, but Chastity discovers he actually has ambitions for helping the poor. Engelmann called the story "a perfect ending to a delightful trilogy."

More recent Feather romances, such as Almost a Bride, continue her tradition of creating strong female characters. This title gave some reviewers pause because the male lead, Jack Fortescu, gains a fortune by driving a man to commit suicide. After Frederick Lacey's death, Jack pursues Frederick's half sister, Arabella, in order to make his revenge complete. Arabella had no great love for her half brother, and seems cold to Jack initially, though romance eventually blooms. Lezlie Patterson, writing again in the State, felt that Jack is an "almost-dismal hero who makes a few too many mistakes without ever satisfactorily compensating for them." An MBR Bookwatch critic found Arabella a bit too cool of a character, too, but believed that, overall, "fans will appreciate this delightful late eighteenth century romance." A Publishers Weekly writer more enthusiastically asserted: "Rich with details that put the ‘historical’ back into historical romance, this tale seethes with breathtaking tension."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1997, Kathleen Hughes, review of The Silver Rose, p. 1877; December 15, 1998, Ann Bouricius, review of A Valentine Wedding, p. 729; December 1, 1999, Ann Bouricius, review of The Least Likely Bride, p. 688; November 15, 2000, Patty Engelmann, review of The Widow's Kiss, p. 624; February 1, 2002, review of To Kiss a Spy, p. 927; February 15, 2003, Patty Engelmann, review of Kissed by Shadows, p. 1056; September 15, 2003, John Charles, "Passionate Pirates," review of The Least Likely Bride, p. 225; December 15, 2003, Patty Engelmann, review of The Bachelor List, p. 733; February 15, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of The Bride Hunt, p. 1044; April 1, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of The Wedding Game, p. 1355; March 15, 2005, Patty Engelmann, review of Almost a Bride, p. 1272; January 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Almost a Lady, p. 71.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2002, review of To Kiss a Spy, p. 9.

Library Journal, February 15, 2000, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Least Likely Bride, p. 148.

MBR Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of Almost a Bride.

Publishers Weekly, May 15, 1995, review of Vice, p. 67; April 22, 1996, review of Vice, p. 69; December 30, 1996, review of Diamond Slipper, p. 63; June 16, 1997, review of The Silver Rose, p. 57; April 20, 1998, review of Hostage Bride, p. 63; December 4, 2000, review of The Widow's Kiss, p. 54; February 11, 2002, review of To Kiss a Spy, p. 163; February 3, 2003, review of Kissed by Shadows, p. 61; December 1, 2003, review of The Bachelor List, p. 45; January 19, 2004, review of The Bride Hunt, p. 58; March 1, 2004, review of The Wedding Game, p. 55; February 28, 2005, review of Almost a Bride, p. 47.

State (Columbia, SC), June 25, 2002, "Romance Reader: ‘To Kiss a Spy’ by Jane Feather"; April 4, 2003, Lezlie Patterson, "Molesting Does Not Make for Good Romance," review of Kissed by Shadows; June 29, 2005, Lezlie Patterson, "This ‘Bride’ Deserves More Brickbats Than Bouquets."

ONLINE

Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (January 24, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of To Kiss a Spy; (May 12, 2002), Marilyn Heyman, review of The Widow's Kiss; (January 15, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of Kissed by Shadows; (February 1, 2004), Susan Wilson, review of The Bachelor List; (February 15, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of The Bride Hunt; (March 10, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of The Wedding Game; (March 20, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Almost a Bride; (January 8, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Almost a Lady.

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (March 29, 2007), Joan Hammond, review of A Valentine for Emma; Kathe Robin, review of Almost a Bride; Joan Hammond, reviews of Kissed by Shadows, Accidental Bride, The Bachelor List, The Bride Hunt, The Diamond Slipper, The Emerald Swan, The Hostage Bride, The Wedding Game, The Widow's Kiss, To Kiss a Spy, Vanity, Vice, Violet, The Least Likely Bride, The Silver Rose, and Almost a Lady; Kathe Robin, review of Almost Innocent.

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Feather, Jane (Claudia Bishop)

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