ADDRESSES: Home—Florida. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Warner Books, 1271 Sixth Ave., 9th Fl., New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Romance novel writer.
Exile's End, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1992.
An Officer and a Gentlemen, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1991.
Serious Risks, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1991.
Cherokee Thunder, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1992.
Imminent Thunder, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
Ironheart, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
Lost Warriors, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
Thunder Mountain, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1994.
Cowboy Cop, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1995.
A Conard County Reckoning, Silhouette Books (Buffalo, NY), 1996.
A Fateful Choice, Mira Books (Buffalo, NY), 1996.
Caught, Mira (Buffalo, NY), 1997.
Nighthawk, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1997.
The Catch of Conard County, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1998.
Cowboy Comes Home, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1998.
Before I Sleep, Mira (Buffalo, NY), 1999.
Boots and Badges, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1999.
After I Dream, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Snow in September, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 2000.
When I Wake, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2000.
A January Chill, Mira (Buffalo, NY), 2001.
Under Suspicion, Wheeler Publishing (Rockland, MA), 2001.
July Thunder, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 2002.
Last Breath, Mira (Buffalo, NY), 2003.
With Malice, Mira (Buffalo, NY), 2003.
UNDER PSEUDONYM SUE CIVIL-BROWN
Carried Away, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Letting Loose, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.
Chasing Rainbow, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
Catching Kelly, Avon (New York, NY), 2000.
Tempting Mr. Wright, Avon (New York, NY), 2000.
Next Stop, Paradise, Avon (New York, NY), 2001.
Breaking All the Rules, Avon (New York, NY), 2002.
Other novels include Destination: Conard County, A Conard County Homecoming, Miss Emmaline and the Archangel, Lost Warriors, Point of No Return, A Question of Justice, and Involuntary Daddy.
SIDELIGHTS: Since 1992 Rachel Lee has published almost forty romance novels. Usually placing her stories in the present, Lee presents characters that are almost always broken or damanged in some way. Both men and women carry dark secrets and tragic losses that have closed them off or sent them into self-imposed physical and emotional exile. As Deborah Barber noted on LikesBooks.com, Lee is partial to the "wounded warrior" archetype: the strong, stoic, scarred man who keeps to himself while nursing decades of pain, betrayal, and loss. In Exile's End Ransom Laird is an ex-con and former CIA operative. In Before I Sleep Seamus Rourke is a police detective whose child died, leading his wife to commit suicide. Ex-Navy SEAL Chase Mattingly is recovering from tragic diving accident in After I Dream, and in Involuntary Daddy Rafe Ortiz's former lover is shot and dies just after giving birth to their son. Craig Nighthawk, of Nighthawk, has been wrongly accused of raping a young girl.
The women in Lee's novels are often carrying just as much emotional cargo. In Exile's End Mandy Grant has lost a husband and a child, as has A Fateful Choice's Jennifer Fox. In Caught Kate Devane has divorced an abusive, institutionalized husband, and in When I Wake Veronica Coleridge lost an unborn child, her hearing, and her marriage following a car accident. Meg Williams in Snow in September, must deal not only with a dead husband, but also a teenage daughter who has run away. Nighthawk's Emily Jackson was crippled by an abusive father.
Lee's novels chart how such hurt and lonely people find each other, usually amidst a mystery or crisis. Several of her novels are set in the Tampa Bay and Key West area of Florida, near where Lee herself lives, but the vast majority of them take place out in the New West, in the fictional Conard County, Wyoming, the setting of more than fifteen books, or Montana, home to Lee's twelve-book "Montana Mavericks" series.
Lee's dramatic romances have not always hit their mark with readers and reviewers. Karen Lynch in Romance Reader online wrote, "the overwhelmingly melodramatic plot of Snow in September makes this one difficult to recommend," and Publishers Weekly felt that "The romance [in Before I Sleep] becomes mired in excessive introspection about the ex-lovers' painful pasts, and pacing problems mar the suspense angle."
Still, Lee is often praised for her storytelling and her characterizations. Kristin Ramsdell of Library Journal found Nighthawk to be "filled with the element of danger," and Thea Davis of Romance Reader appreciated Cowboy Comes Home's "well developed principal characters [and] lively but appropriate dialogue." Nancy J. Silberstein noted in Romance Reader that After I Dream is "Well-written, with fully adult characters and a strong sense of place," and Publishers Weekly agreed that Lee "skillfully constructs a suspenseful story—with romance in all the right places—and never loses control of her clean, tight plot."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, May 15, 1995, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Cowboy Cop, p. 62; February 15, 1997, Elizabeth Mellett, "Word of Mouth," review of Fateful Choice, p. 184; May 15, 1997, Kristin Framsdell, review of Nighthawk, p. 66.
Publishers Weekly, September 23, 1996, review of A Fateful Choice, p. 74; September 15, 1997, review of Caught, p. 73; June 14, 1999, review of Before I Sleep, p. 67; February 7, 2000, review of After I Dream, p. 69; March 27, 2000, review of Snow in September, p. 57; October 16, 2000, review of When I Wake, p. 55; February 19, 2001, review of A January Chill, p. 75.
LikesBooks.com,http://www.likesbooks.com/ (June 12, 2001), Deborah Barber, review of Exile's End.
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (May 15, 2001), Thea Davis, review of Cowboy Comes Home; Lesley Dunlap, review of Before I Sleep; Karen Lynch, review of Snow in September;Jean Mason, reviews of Misteltow Kisses and Involuntary Daddy; Nancy J. Silberstein, review of After I Dream.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (June 12, 2001), Debbie Richardson, review of A Fateful Choice; Jill M. Smith, review of After I Dream.
Whitestone Books Web site,http://www.whitestone.com/ (June 12, 2001), Harriet Klausner, reviews of After I Dream and A January Chill.*