French, Judith E.
French, Judith E.
PERSONAL: Married; children: four.
ADDRESSES: Home—DE. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Leisure Books, 200 Madison Ave., Ste. 2000, New York, NY 10016.
MEMBER: Romance Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Eastern Shore Writers.
AWARDS, HONORS: Career Achievement Award in Romantic Historicals, Romantic Times, 1999.
Starpe, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Morgan's Woman, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Hannah Howell and Colleen Faulkner) Castle Magic (collection), Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Irish Rogue, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2000.
The Taming of Shaw MacCade, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Falcon's Angel, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Donna Jordan and Jean Wilson) Wedded Bliss (collection), Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2003.
At Risk, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2005.
"ALEXANDER THE GREAT" TRILOGY; ROMANCE NOVELS
The Conqueror, Dorchester Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.
The Barbarian, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Warrior, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Judith E. French, a self-professed tomboy who enjoyed playing with puppies, ponies, and fireflies, grew up on a farm in the Chesapeake Bay area. She developed a love of words at a young age, encouraged by her grandfather's ghost stories and by long afternoons spent reading to herself. She has ever since remained in the area, where she and her husband own a restored eighteenth-century farmhouse that they share with a number of pets. French started to write professionally at the age of seventeen, and has since produced numerous romance novels that are available around the world in a number of languages. She has won several awards, including the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in 1999, and a number of Affair de Coeurs, as well as being a three-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America Rita Award. French's books, primarily historical romances, are known for their strong-minded, adventurous heroines and her extensive, detailed historical research.
One of her early works, Morgan's Woman, tells the story of Tamsin MacGregor. Following her husband's death, Tamsin decides to make the trip from her home in Tennessee out to the West Coast with the intention of settling in California. She gets only as far as Sweet-water, Colorado, where someone steals her horses and, in the process of trying to get them back, she stumbles upon a dead rancher and is promptly blamed by his brother for the murder. When she goes on the run, bounty hunter Ash Morgan sets out to bring her back. Once he finds her, he must deal with her repeated attempts to escape, and ultimately begins to believe in her innocence. However, it remains for them to convince the rest of Sweetwater. All about Romance critic Blythe Bamhill found the story fairly typical of a Western road romance, but she approved of the fact that "both main characters have reasons to be bitter about their pasts, but they don't wallow in their misery as some characters are wont to do."
The Irish Rogue is another historical romance, though with a very different feel that illustrates French's diverse interests and versatility. The novel follows heiress Anne Davis, whose lover abandons her when she becomes pregnant and who is then attacked by ruffians on the Philadelphia docks. Immigrant Michael O'Ryan comes to her rescue and offers her a marriage of convenience; she will pay him nine thousand dollars, and in return he will legitimize her child. French illustrates the prejudices against immigrants during this time period as she shows Michael attempting to start a new life while escaping unfounded legal charges back home. Kelly Parker, reviewing the novel for All about Romance, considered the book "a fairly average read, but one that is enlivened by its likable hero and some nice period details."
Exchanging more recent history for ancient times, French's "Alexander the Great" trilogy includes The Conqueror, The Barbarian, and The Warrior. The first installment focuses on Alexander the Great's attack on Sogdiana, where he offers to negotiate with the leader, Oxyartes. However, Oxyartes's daughter Roxanne, a trained warrior, would rather fight Alexander than negotiate. Harriet Klausner, writing in Best Reviews, found the book to be "a strong historical tale that brings to life one of the great … individuals." In The Barbarian, French returns to the story of Roxanne many years later, following the death of Alexander, and the kidnapping of Roxanne's son. Suffering from amnesia, Roxanne falls prey to Alexander's brother, Ptolomy, who wishes to make her his own. Best Reviews critic Shayne Sawyer commented that the book is "packed full of vivid historical details that will transport the reader back to mystical Egypt." The Warrior completes French's trilogy, recounting the story of Alexander's son, his romance with an intelligent Irish sex slave, and the political intrigue that results. Harriet Klausner, again in Best Reviews, concluded that "French closes her superb miniseries with a powerful insightful look at fourth century BC mostly at Egypt and the Kingdom of Bactria ad Sogdiana."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2003, John Charles, "Passionate Pirates," p. 225; November 15, 2003, Diana Tixier Herald, review of The Conqueror, p. 586.
Publishers Weekly, October 31, 2005, review of The Warrior, p. 38.
All about Romance, http://www.likesbooks.com/ (April 19, 2006), Lori Sowell, review of The Barbarian; Lynn Spencer, review of The Conqueror; Jennifer Schendel, review of Falcon's Angel; Marianne Stillings, review of The Taming of Shaw MacCade; Kelly Parker, review of The Irish Rogue, and Blythe Bamhill, review of Morgan's Woman.
Best Reviews, http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (November 14, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of The Conqueror; (July 10, 2004), Shayne Sawyer, review of The Barbarian; (August 9, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of The Barbarian; (June 12, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of At Risk; (November 10, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Warrior.
Judith E. French Home Page, http://www.judithefrench.com (April 19, 2006).
Romance Reader, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (April 19, 2006), Mary Benn, review of The Warrior; Jean Mason, review of The Irish Rogue; Cathy Sova, review of Falcon's Angel; Lesley Dunlap, review of Morgan's Woman; and Wendy Crutcher, review of The Taming of Shaw MacCade.