First name is pronounced "gay-len"; born in Pittsburgh, PA; married; husband's name Eric. Education: State University of New York—Fredonia, B.A.
Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for best first historical romance, for The Pirate Prince; National Readers' Choice Award; Golden Leaf, two-time winner.
"ASCENSION" TRILOGY; HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The Pirate Prince, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.
Princess, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1999.
Prince Charming, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2000.
"KNIGHT MISCELLANY" SERIES; HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The Duke, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2000.
Lord of Fire, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2002.
Lord of Ice, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2002.
Lady of Desire, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Devil Takes a Bride, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2004.
One Night of Sin, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2005.
His Wicked Kiss, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.
"SPICE" TRILOGY; HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Her Only Desire, Piatkus Books (London, England), 2007.
Her Secret Fantasy, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Her Every Pleasure, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Historical romance writer Gaelen Foley is the author of the "Ascension" trilogy, set in a mythical Italian island kingdom; the "Knight Miscellany" series, set in the early-nineteenth-century Regency period in England; and the "Spice" trilogy, set in England and India. Foley's goal is to offer readers "intelligent entertainment" with a solid historical background, she wrote at her Web site. "I want to take [readers] on an emotional rollercoaster ride with a magnificent, untamed man and a worthy, likable heroine to keep them company," she continued.
"Untamed" is an appropriate adjective for Lazar de Fiore, the title character of The Pirate Prince, which begins the "Ascension" trilogy. Lazar is the only survivor of the massacre of Ascension's royal family, an event that took place fifteen years before the action in the novel, which is set in 1785. After escaping the carnage, Fiore became a pirate, and he now plans to use the skills he has gained to reclaim the kingdom of Ascension from Ottavio Monteverdi, the man responsible for the massacre, who is now the island's corrupt and repressive governor. Lazar intends to kill Monterverdi and his daughter Allegra, but when he meets Allegra, he falls in love with her and begins to reconsider. "Lazar is a fine tortured hero; Allegra is an admirable heroine," commented Jean Mason, a reviewer for Romance Reader. Mason thought The Pirate Prince was marred by a "jarringly modern" tone and an ending that left a few matters unsettled, but nonetheless considered it "a most impressive first novel."
In Princess, set twenty years later, Lazar is king of Ascension and is trying to retain some measure of independence as French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte seeks to commandeer the kingdom's fleet of ships for his battles against England. Lazar has selected a Rus- sian prince, Anatole Tyurinov, as a mate for his daughter, Princess Serafina, in hopes that Russia will become a strong ally for Ascension against Napoleon. Meanwhile, Napoleon's agents seek to kidnap the princess so she can marry the emperor's stepson. Darius Santiago, a former slave and now a trusted aide to King Lazar, foils the kidnappers, and when Serafina is sent to an isolated rural refuge for security purposes, he accompanies her. A love affair develops between them, complicated by the demands of diplomacy and Darius's fear that he is not good enough for Serafina. "Princess has everything a romance reader could want," including "intrigue, danger, derring do, sexual tension," and steamy love scenes, observed Mason in a review of the work for Romance Reader. She also praised Foley's writing style and "the way she grounded the story in the real historical events of 1805. If there had been an Ascension and a King Lazar and a Princess Serafina, well then, all this really might have happened."
The final entry in the trilogy, Prince Charming, is also set in the early nineteenth century. Its protagonist is Rafael de Fiore, crown prince of Ascension, who becomes romantically involved with the beautiful Lady Daniela Chiaramonte only to find out that she has a secret identity as the Masked Rider, a highway bandit who has been robbing the rich (including himself) and distributing her take to the poor. In a sort of plea-bargain arrangement, they enter into a marriage of convenience but find it hard to resist their attraction to each other; meanwhile, they join in fighting conspirators who want to seize the throne. "Foley brings historical accuracy and richly drawn characters, particularly the complex prince, to her romance," remarked a Publishers Weekly critic, while Booklist reviewer Diana Tixier Herald called the novel "a delightful read for those who like their romances light and sexy."
The Duke, Lord of Fire, and Lord of Ice deal with the noble Knight family of Regency England, including twin brothers Lucien and Damien. Lucien is the central character of Lord of Fire; he is a notorious libertine, famed for hosting orgies at his estate. But these festivals of debauchery are his way of obtaining information that he can use as a spy for the British crown. An innocent young woman, Alice Montague, shows up at one of his parties looking for her sister-in-law, Caroline Glenwood, who is one of Lucien's consorts. Lucien is intrigued by Alice and hatches a plan to seduce her, while an espionage plot spins out involving a threat to Lucien's life and all of England by an agent of France. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the Lucien-Alice romance but did not care for the spy story, saying, "Foley's protagonists are captivating, but her hackneyed plot doesn't do them justice." Booklist's John Charles, though, had positive words for all aspects of the novel, saying Foley's characters, plot, and writing style make "an addictive combination" and that Lord of Fire is a "wonderful romance."
The brooding Damien takes center stage in Lord of Ice, which focuses on his infatuation with the beautiful and spirited young charge to whom he has been asked to act as guardian. Foley follows this novel with Lady of Desire, which centers on hotheaded Lady Jacinda Knight. Determined to avoid an arranged marriage, she runs away from home to London, where she becomes embroiled in the criminal underworld of the city's fetid back alleys. Jacinda is rescued by Billy Blade, a rough but charming hero who, it turns out, is the disgraced son of an aristocrat. A writer for Publishers Weekly described the novel as "tantalizing," adding that Billy's "transformation from street-wise rebel into high society rake is full of light humor, lively surprises and tender moments."
In Devil Takes a Bride, which The Best Reviews contributor Suzanne Tucker considered a "masterpiece," Devlin "Devil" Kimball, Lord Strathmore, attempts to discover who is responsible for the fire that killed his family when he was seventeen. Devlin has spent the past several years at sea, sinking deeper and deeper into a debauchery that, it turns out, is feigned in order to gain him entry to the notorious Horse and Chariot Driving Club. Devlin suspects that some members of this club were behind the fire, and he is determined to expose them. At the same time, he finds himself drawn to Lizzie Carlisle, the companion to his elderly aunt. Lizzie had judged Devlin a neglectful and selfish nephew, but discovers otherwise when she meets the Devil and he proves his devotion. Norma Collins, writing in Curled up with a Good Book, observed that "Devil Takes a Bride is a dark tale of murder, revenge, and despair, but ultimately one of redemption and love."
The Knight series continues with One Night of Sin, which focuses on the notorious rake Alex Knight and his passion for a young woman entangled in a Russian plot against the Tsar, and His Wicked Kiss, in which Lord Jack Knight, the black sheep of the family, finds more than he bargained for in Venezuela. Boating down-river after an encounter with Simon Bolivar's rebels, Jack meets Eden Farraday, daughter of Dr. Victor Far- raday. Her father had promised to bring Eden back to England, where she might enter society and find a husband. But when this trip is put on hold, the desperate Eden takes matters into her own hands. She makes her way out of the jungle and tries, unsuccessfully, to wheedle her way onto Jack's London-bound ship. When he refuses to admit her as a passenger, she rows out to the harbor and boards as a stowaway. Soon she is discovered, and Jack plans to have his way with her—only to realize he is falling in love. A Publishers Weekly reviewer enjoyed the "delicious tension" that Foley creates between the characters in this book, noting that her storytelling skills are "deft as ever."
Foley's "Spice Trilogy" opens with Her Only Desire. This novel recounts the story of Ian Prescott, Marquess of Griffith, dispatched to India to quell a nascent rebellion. Ian is surprised to discover that Georgiana Knight, sister of British cavalry officers Gabriel and Derek Knight, insists on playing a part in the diplomatic mission. Booklist reviewer John Charles enjoyed the book's exotic setting and noted that the novel promises to introduce "an exceptionally entertaining and sexy new … trilogy."
In Her Secret Fantasy Derek Knight has returned to England, where he meets the lovely Lily Balfour. Though Lily is drawn to Derek, she is almost engaged to Edward Lundy. Edward enlists Derek's help in investigating an embezzling plot against the East India Company.
The trilogy concludes with Her Every Pleasure. Gabriel Knight, wounded and now living near London, is touched by the goodness of a peasant girl he meets. What he does not at first realize is that she is the disguised Princess Sophia, heir to the throne of an island kingdom conquered by Napoleon and now hiding in England until she can launch an attempt to regain her kingdom. Though he has foresworn fighting, Gabriel sees that he must take up arms once again to protect the young woman who has brought his broken spirit back to life.
Foley noted on her Web site that she aims to keep her stories grounded in history, with "a realistic, if somewhat idealized picture of early nineteenth century England." She added, "My readers are smart cookies and love learning as much as I do."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2000, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Prince Charming, p. 1009; January 1, 2002, John Charles, review of Lord of Fire, p. 822; December 15, 2002, John Charles, review of Lady of Desire, p. 738; May 1, 2004, John Charles, review of Devil Takes a Bride, p. 1550; April 1, 2007, John Charles, review of Her Only Desire, p. 34.
Publishers Weekly, January 31, 2000, review of Prince Charming, p. 87; December 10, 2001, review of Lord of Fire, p. 57; December 9, 2002, review of Lady of Desire, p. 68; April 26, 2004, review of Devil Takes a Bride, p. 47; March 20, 2006, review of His Wicked Kiss, p. 42.
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (May 1, 2008), Harried Klausner, reviews of His Wicked Kiss, One Night of Sin, and Devil Takes a Bride; Suzanne Tucker, review of Devil Takes a Bride; Desmond Chan, review of Lady of Desire; Cynthia Meidinger, review of Lady of Desire.
Curled up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (May 1, 2008), Norma Collins, review of Devil Takes a Bride.
Escape to Romance, http://www.escapetoromance.com/ (May 1, 2008), Chere Gruver, review of Lady of Desire.
Fresh Fiction,http://freshfiction.com/ (May 1, 2008), Stacey Hayman, review of Her Secret Fantasy; Faye McMichael, review of One Night of Sin.
Gaelen Foley Web site,http://www.gaelenfoley.com (May 1, 2008).
Mystic Castle,http://www.themysticcastle.com/ (May 1, 2008), review of His Wicked Kiss.
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (August 12, 1998), Jean Mason, review of The Pirate Prince; (July 25, 1999) Jean Mason, review of Princess; (August 31, 1998) Cathy Sova, "New Faces 7: Gaelen Foley." (May 1, 2008), Shirley Lyons, review of Devil Takes a Bride.
Romance Readers Connection,http://www.theromancereadersconnection.com/ (May 1, 2008), Valeen Gray, interview with Gaelen Foley, and review of His Wicked Kiss.
Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 1, 2008), Kathe Robin, reviews of Her Secret Fantasy and Lady of Desire.