PERSONAL: Female. Education: Attended Portland State University. Hobbies and other interests: Rock 'n' roll, movies, reading.
ADDRESSES: Office—P.O. Box 1229, Fairview, OR 97024. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Novelist. Formerly worked as a secretary and in administrative positions.
MEMBER: Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers.
AWARDS, HONORS: Editor's Choice award and historical category award, Cascade Retreat and Recharge contest, 1991; Laurel Wreath Award, Volusia County Romance Writers, 1996, for A Taste of Heaven; Knight in Shining Silver award, Romantic Times, 2000, for Allie's Moon.
Homeward Hearts, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1994.
A Light for My Love, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1995.
A Taste of Heaven, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Desperate Hearts, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Harper's Bride, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Allie's Moon, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Montana Born and Bred, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Bridal Veil, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
The Irish Bride, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to anthologies, including Midsummer Night's Madness, St. Martin's Press, 1994, and Chocolate Kisses, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
SIDELIGHTS: Alexis Harrington is a novelist who specializes in historical romances. In 1983 she began her first novel, Homeward Hearts, which she finished and sold to a publisher ten years later. The novel is Harrington's account of what life was like in 1880s Montana. Kyla Springer Bailey is looking to hire someone to return to Oregon and kill a man, and thinks she has found him in bounty hunter Jace Rankin. Jace fails to realize that the young man he has met is really a young woman, until Kyla is shot. During her recovery, Kyla begins to trust him. Revenge is a powerful medicine; soon on the trail again, love is kindled when they are forced to seek shelter in an empty miner's shack during a mountain ice storm.
In Harper's Bride Dylan Harper, the owner of a Yukon trading company, refuses to extend more credit to shiftless, drunken Coy Logan. Dylan finally calls in the overdue debts and Coy offers as payment his wife, Melissa, and their baby daughter. The bruise on Melissa's face persuades Dylan to accept the trade, despite his past bad experience with women, and a roughly drafted arrangement transfers Melissa's marriage pact from a man she hates to one she does not even know. Cindy Rowe noted in Romance Reader online that Harrington "allows Dylan and Melissa to glimpse the joyous possibilities of life in spite of their fears. Trust is a difficult lesson, but love makes an amazing teacher—as Ms. Harrington proves in this lovely romance."
Set in 1880s Oregon, Allie's Moon tells the story of Allie Ford, who lives on the outskirts of Decker Prairie with her sister Olivia. She needs a man to help with the repairs on their home, but no one wants to work for the stiff-necked spinster and her "strange" sister. Jefferson Hicks, the town's ex-sheriff, has been drowning his guilt in a bottle for two years. When he is arrested for egg stealing, Hicks is sentenced to work off his time on Allie's farm. Hicks and Allie open up to one another, but Olivia's jealousy and sickness, as well as Hicks's past and an accusation of murder, threaten their very fragile bond. Kathe Robin, in Romantic Times, described the novel as "poignant and very tender," and added that "Harrington has hit upon a story that will capture readers and touch their hearts with its power and ability to portray the healing power of love."
In Montana Born and Bred heroine Sarah Kincaid has a secret: Danny, the baby she has taken in and claims to be her deceased sister's son, is really her own child, and the boy's wealthy father wants custody. Pressured to sign away her maternal rights so Danny's ruthless father and his wife can claim her son, Sarah panics and flees with the boy, taking a position as a schoolteacher in a Montana small town. Bounty hunter Zach Garrett, hired to bring Danny back to the infant's father, finds his cold heart beginning to melt, and finds difficulty in forcing a young and loving mother to relinquish the son she obviously loves.
The Bridal Veil follows a storyline familiar to Harrington's readers. Emily Cannon, a Chicago etiquette teacher, heads west to become a mail-order bride after her sister, Alyssa, who was originally contracted for the position, dies in an accident. Expecting a petite, delicate brunette like his first wife, widower and groom-to-be Luke Becker is stunned by the tall, prim Emily. Nevertheless, the two are stuck with each other. Despite the interference of the bitter mother of Luke's first wife, Emily is determined to make the best of the situation by helping Luke's troubled, tomboy daughter become a lady. Although a reviewer for Publishers Weekly found that the story creates little tension, Romance Reader contributor Anne Bulin noted that "Harrington writes with a wonderfully homey and engaging style." Praising Harrington's 2003 novel, The Irish Bride, Booklist contributor Megan Kalan noted that this novel—which finds a young Irish couple thrown together into a hasty marriage and shipped off to America during the mid-1800s—is a "tale of triumph and tragedy [that] is throughly engaging."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2003, Megan Kalan, review of The Irish Bride, p. 1283.
Library Journal, February 15, 1997, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Chocolate Kisses, p. 126.
Publishers Weekly, November 9, 2001, review of The Bridal Veil, p. 53.
Alexis Harrington Homepage, http://www.alexisharrington.com (February 22, 2004).
BookBrowser, http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (March 17, 2002), review of The Bridal Veil.
Romance Reader, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (March 17, 2002), Anne Bulin, review of The Bridal Veil; review of A Taste of Heaven; Jean Mason, reviews of Harper's Bride, Allie's Moon and Montana Born and Bred.