PERSONAL: Born in Hillsborough, NJ; children: two daughters. Education: University of Scranton, B.S. Hobbies and other interests: Reading and gardening.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 534, Yardley, PA 19067. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Sonnet Books/Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New york, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Johnson & Johnson, former computer systems analyst.
AWARDS, HONORS: Named best-selling debut author in romance, Waldenbooks, 1998, for Touch Not the Cat; PRISM Award for best paranormal romance, Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America, 1999, for Heart of the Dove.
Touch Not the Cat, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Heart of the Dove, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Forbidden Garden, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Daughter of Destiny, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 2000.
To Tame a Wild Heart, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 2001.
My Enchanted Enemy, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Portrait of a Bride, Sonnet Books (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Portrait of a Groom, the sequel to Portrait of a Bride.
SIDELIGHTS: Tracy Fobes writes historical romance novels with a twist: her stories of men and women falling in love are leavened with man-eating plants, paintings that act as time portals, and practicing witches. Frequently, there is a curse that must be broken before the hero and heroine can live happily ever after. For example, her first paranormal romance, Touch Not the Cat, has as its heroine Catherine MacClelland, a Scottish woman from the early nineteenth century who turns into a wildcat at night and is cursed to die in childbirth.
In Fobes's second romance, Heart of the Dove, the hero and heroine have both been cursed by the witch Morgana Fey, even though the hero, wounded Crimean War veteran Richard Clairmont, refuses at first to admit that magical curses might exist. These early books quickly proved popular with readers and critics. Romance Reader contributor Judith Flavell laid out some of the book's strengths: "The plot is intriguing and there's lots of it—this book really moves along at a brisk pace. The sparks between Catherine and Nicholas [the hero] are hot; the banter between them during their initial meeting is witty." Flavell also commented that Catherine's fear that Nicholas will no longer love her if he finds out about her curse is "genuine and very moving."
For readers "plagued by that feeling that you've been reading the same novel over and over," Jennifer Keirans wrote in All about Romance online that Forbidden Garden serves as "a sure-fire antidote." The novel's heroine is Anne Sherwood, a talented young woman who feels betrayed when her husband takes credit for her illustrations in his botanical guide, the Encyclopedia of Flowering Plants. After his death she is hired as a professional illustrator for the Kew Gardens in England, but no matter how severely she dresses and how stellar her work, she still has trouble being taken seriously as a professional in those Victorian times. She hopes that a new job, illustrating for Irish botanist Lord Connock, will provide her with the recognition she craves, but she soon finds another benefit to working for Lord Connock: coworker, Michael McEvoy.
Both Michael and Anne have special gifts in working with plants, Michael's as a result of living as a feral child in the forests and Anne's a magical ability to see and interpret plants' auras, and because of this they quickly realize that something is very wrong in Lord Connock's greenhouses and woods. (The ivy that attacks Anne at night and disappears during the day is a pretty good hint, too.) In a modern twist, it turns out that Lord Connock has been conducting genetic experiments, trying, he claims, to create pest-and disease-resistant hybrids that will prevent a repeat of the Irish Potato Famine that resulted in widespread starvation during the mid-nineteenth century. This combination of bioethics and romance leads to an "innovative new novel for the thinking woman," stated Paranormal Romance Reviews contributor Leslie Tramposch, further describing the book as both "a fascinating tale [and] a tender love story."
My Enchanted Enemy is a "fanciful fable" with "refreshing originality," declared a Publishers Weekly critic. Both the hero and the heroine are trying to save their families. Cole Strangford is the last of his Romany line and is obligated to father an heir, while Juliana St. Germaine needs to break a curse placed on her family by an ancestor of Cole's centuries previous. Neither is looking for love; Juliana knows that falling in love with Cole will make it much harder for her to carry out her duty, while he does not wish to be distracted from his quest to recover the Sea Opal, a lucky jewel whose theft by the St. Germaine clan led to their curse. My Enchanted Enemy is an "enchanting Regency romantic fantasy," wrote Harriet Klausner in Best Reviews, with a "strong cast that makes readers believe in the unreal."
Portrait of a Bride is a departure for Fobes: a paranormal romance set in the future rather than in the past. In the future Fobes envisions, a devastating plague has wiped out most of the world's female population. Some enterprising men have discovered how to travel back in time through paintings, and they use this ability to bring back for themselves wives from previous times. One such bride is Jordan, a modern Philadelphia-based genetic researcher. She is frustrated by being forbidden to work or do anything even remotely dangerous—her husband views her as far too precious a possession to be allowed to risk herself—yet she still finds herself attracted to the man. "Science fiction romance readers will appreciate this fine tale," commented Harriet Klausner in MBR Bookwatch, and Booklist critic Nina C. Davis dubbed it "a refreshing futuristic romance."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2005, Nina C. Davis, review of Portrait of a Bride, p. 830.
MBR Bookwatch, February, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Portrait of a Bride.
Publishers Weekly, January 31, 2000, review of Forbidden Garden, p. 87; February 25, 2002, review of My Enchanted Enemy, p. 48.
All about Romance Web site, http://www.likesbooks.com/ (May 6, 2002), Jennifer Keirans, review of Forbidden Garden; Lori-Anne Cohen, review of Daughter of Destiny.
Best Reviews Web site, http://thebestreviews.com/ (July 13, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of To Tame a Wild Heart; (February 19, 2002) Harriet Klausner, review of My Enchanted Enemy.
CrescentBlues.com, http://www.crescentblues.com/ (March 14, 2005), Patricia White, review of Daughter of Destiny.
Paranormal Romance Reviews Online, http://pnr.thebestreviews.com/ (October 8, 2001), Leslie Tramposch, review of Forbidden Garden.
Romance Reader Web site, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (September 30, 1998), Judith Flavell, review of Touch Not the Cat; (September 7, 1999) Lesley Dunlap, review of To Tame a Wild Heart.
Simon & Schuster Web site, http://www.simonsays.com/ (March 14, 2005), "Tracy Fobes."
Tracy Fobes Home Page, http://www.tracyfobes.com (March 14, 2005).
WritersWrite.com, http://www.writerswrite.com/ (September, 2000), Claire E. White, interview with Fobes.