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Lee, Linda Francis

LEE, Linda Francis

PERSONAL:

Born in Texas; married; husband's name, Michael. Education: Graduated from Texas Tech University.

ADDRESSES:

HomeNew York, NY. Office—c/o Ballantine Publishing Group/Ivy Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Novelist. Former teacher of mathematic probability and statistics.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Nomination for best historical romance of the year, Romantic Times, 1996, for Blue Waltz; RITA award, romance Writers of America, nomination, 2000, for Dove's Way, and finalist, 2001, for Nightingale's Gate.

WRITINGS:

ROMANCE NOVELS

The Ways of Grace, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Looking for Lacey, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Wedding Diaries, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2003.

"VICTORIAN NEW YORK" TRILOGY

Blue Waltz, Jove Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.

Emerald Rain, Jove Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.

Crimson Lace, Jove Publishing (New York, NY), 1997.

"VICTORIAN BOSTON" TRILOGY

Dove's Way, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Swan's Grace, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Nightingale's Gate, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS:

Born and raised in Texas, Linda Francis Lee has, thanks to her husband Michael's career, lived in a number of locations throughout the United States. While suffering through a particularly cold winter in Boston in 1994—"I was never meant for the cold," she wrote in an autobiographical sketch at her Web site—she began writing what became Blue Waltz, her first published novel.

Blue Waltz begins a trilogy that includes Emerald Rain and Crimson Lace, all historical romances featuring ladies of the evening in nineteenth-century Manhattan. In Crimson Lace, Lily Blakemore, forced into her profession by hard times, has to return to Manhattan—which she left in disgrace a decade earlier—to care for her deceased brother's children. With a gubernatorial candidate rumored to be among Lily's clients, investigative reporter Morgan Elliott poses as a household employee in order to garner salacious details of the affair. According to a review in Publishers Weekly, "the intensity of feeling once the first layer of secrets is stripped off will have readers falling in love right along with Lily and Morgan."

Another trilogy, set in nineteenth-century Boston, begins with Dove's Way, in which Finnea Winslet returns from Africa to marry the embittered Matthew Hawthorne. Swan's Grace, set in 1892, takes its name from the ancestral home of heroine Sophie Wentworth, whose father has sold the home place in order to support the demands of his greedy second wife. As Sophie learns, to her chagrin, he has also given her hand in marriage to the wealthy Grayson Hawthorne, who, like his brother Matthew, has been hardened by his hurts. Sophie, however, remembers Grayson as he was when they first met at a much younger age, and as his betrothed, she seeks to bring out that gentler side. Nightingale's Cove crosses paths with the world of the Blue Waltz trilogy as another Hawthorne, Lucas, finds himself on trial for murdering a prostitute. In a move highly unusual for the 1890s, he hires a female attorney, Alice Kendall. According to a reviewer in Booklist, "this romance can certainly stand on its own, although readers will be overcome by the urge to find the earlier titles once the last page is turned."

Grace Colebrook, the title character in The Ways of Grace, discovers her fiancé having sex with another woman on their wedding day. Disconsolate, she sits—still in her wedding dress—on a bench across the street from her apartment. The night is cold, and when Jack Berenger looks out his window and sees her sitting there, he brings her a coat. Irresistibly drawn to one another, they wind up on her kitchen table, making love. Grace already knew who Jack was, but he had never seen her before, and in the morning, she is horrified that she had sex with a virtual stranger. Things get worse when she loses her job after an assistant steals one of her ideas. The Ways of Grace, wrote Jill M. Smith in Romantic Times, "provides a moving look into the hearts of lovers." According to Maria Hatton in Booklist, "As Lee expertly reveals the personal issues that make Jack and Grace kindred spirits, she creates two of the most lovable and convincing characters in recent romances."

Whereas Grace's life was falling apart, the title character in Looking for Lacey suffers from an opposite problem: one of being too controlled. A single mother, Lacey Wright is meticulous in her ways, which makes her ideally suited to run the sports bar for which she has been hired as business manager. But she has lied on her resume, and she fears discovery by the owner, Bobby McIntyre. A retired football quarterback, Bobby is easygoing, and the contrast between them breeds an inevitable attraction. A secondary plot involving Lacey's sixteen-year-old daughter rounds out the story. "Adept at Victorian historicals," wrote Mary K. Chelton in Booklist, "Lee also excels in this contemporary."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2001, review of Dove's Way, p. 212; May 1, 2002, Maria Hatton, review of Nightingale's Gate, p. 1671; August, 2002, Maria Hatton, review of The Ways of Grace, p. 1935; February 15, 2003, Mary K. Chelton, review of Looking for Lacey, p. 1057.

Publishers Weekly, November 17, 1997, review of Crimson Lace, p. 59; August 28, 2000, review of Swan's Grace, p. 61; August 26, 2002, review of The Ways of Grace, p. 50.

ONLINE

Linda Francis Lee Home Page,http://www.lindafrancislee.com (September 16, 2003).

Romantic Times Web Site,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 16, 2003), Jill M. Smith, review of The Ways of Grace. *

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