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Parker, Una–Mary 1930-

Parker, Una–Mary 1930-

PERSONAL:

Born March 30, 1930, in London, England; daughter of Hugh Power (in business) and Laura Nepean Gubbins; married Archie Parker (a photographer), October 6, 1951 (deceased); children: Diana Parker Hobart, Philip. Education: Educated privately. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Church of England.

ADDRESSES:

Office—9 Cheval Place, London SW7 1DY, England. Agent—Susan Zeckendorf, 171 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019; and Abner Stein, 10 Roland Gardens, London SW7 3PH, England.

CAREER:

Writer, editor, journalist, and novelist.

WRITINGS:

Riches, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.

Scandals, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.

Temptations, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.

Enticements, New American Library, (New York, NY), 1991.

The Palace Affair, Signet Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Forbidden Feelings, Headline (London, England), 1993.

Only the Best, Headline (London, England), 1993.

A Guilty Pleasure, Headline (London, England), 1994.

False Promises, Headline (London, England), 1995.

Taking Control, Headline (London, England), 1996.

A Dangerous Desire, Headline (London, England), 1997.

Dark Passions, Headline (London, England), 1998.

Secrets of the Night, Headline (London, England), 1999.

Broken Trust, Headline (London, England), 1999.

Sweet Vengeance, Headline (London, England), 2000.

Moment of Madness, Headline (London, England), 2001.

Former social editor, Tatler.

"GRANVILLE" SERIES

The Granville Sisters, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

The Granville Affaire, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

The Granville Legacy, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Una-Mary Parker is a British writer, journalist, and novelist. A member of the British peerage, Parker often sets her novels in the world of the English aristocracy. The Granville Sisters is the first of a series based in part on five real-life 1930s London socialites and sisters. Family patriarch Henry Granville struggles to rein in his rebellious children even as his wife Liza wants nothing more than for them to settle into good marriages. The novel focuses on the lives of the two eldest siblings, Rosie and Juliet, as they navigate pre-World War II society and seek respectable marriages. Rosie is a lovely and pleasant young woman, but she finds it hard to compete with the stunningly gorgeous and rule-flouting Juliet. When Rosie finds her perfect match, Juliet promptly steals him away from her. Determined to get married, Rosie weds her second choice. In the meantime, Juliet's risque behavior earns coverage in the gossip columns, much to the mortification of her family. Jealously continues to ferment between the two sisters, even as the first stirrings of World War II place Britain on its inevitable, society-altering course toward conflict. Booklist reviewer Emily Melton called the novel "an appealing historical romance with an open-ended conclusion that promises more to come."

The Granville Affaire, the second book in the Granville series, opens as World War II begins. Rosie has married into a wealthy family, but her husband has little ambition. Juliet has wed Cameron, a prominent Scottish lord, but there is little substance to their marriage—her husband, to her regret, is a homosexual, even though he greatly desires an heir. For her part, Juliet is nurturing a deep interest in Daniel Lawrence, even though he is already married himself, though that does not prevent her from becoming pregnant by the dashing Lawrence. Meanwhile, third sister Louise falls in love with an evacuee from the London blitz and finds herself pregnant by him. Amanda pursues her intellectual interests while youngest sister Charlotte chafes at the restrictions placed on her because of her age and yearns to grow up quickly. As the war intensifies, both Juliet and Rosie become nurses, further affairs blossom and wilt for Rosie, and Louise finds herself in a satisfying match with a doctor. Reviewer Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, called the novel a "gripping and enjoyable historical saga filled with one family's triumphs and tragedies set against a broad canvas."

The Granville Legacy resumes the family story in the lean years after the war. During these bleak days, Liza Granville takes a renewed interest in her daughters' lives and fortunes. Rosie has married a successful American, while Juliet's marriage seems to be successful as well. Amanda, uninterested in the trappings of high society and fortunate marriages, makes plans to become a politician, much to her mother's dismay. When youngest daughter Charlotte becomes a fashion model, the scandal is almost more than Liza can bear. All concerns with marriages and careers will be forgotten, however, when a tragedy befalls the family with devastating force. "Fans of romantic family sagas will find much to enjoy" in this particular installment of Parker's "sweeping and poignant series," Melton commented in another Booklist review.

Parker told CA: "Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. At the age of ten I had a children's story published in the Weekly Scotsman, and that was it! Although I pursued a career as a journalist, while bringing up my son and daughter, it was at the back of my mind all the time that, one day, I would become a novelist. Now I consider myself to be supremely lucky to be earning a living by doing what I really want to do.

"I keep normal office hours, working in the public relations offices of my daughter, as I like the buzz of other people working around me, and I type my books directly on an electric typewriter. So far, my books have gone into nine languages, and four have been sold to an audio books company. There is talk at present that one will be made into a television mini-series.

"I read everything I can lay my hands on, from Emile Zola to Jackie Collins, Charlotte Bronte, and Ruth Rendell. I advise anyone wanting to be a writer to read as much as possible. This is the best way to learn, apart from constant practice."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Emily Melton, review of The Granville Sisters, p. 1995; December 1, 2005, Emily Melton, review of The Granville Affaire, p. 26; December 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of The Granville Legacy, p. 23.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2006, review of The Granville Affaire, p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, February 9, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Veil of Secrets, p. 46; November 23, 1990, review of Enticements, p. 56; June 29, 1992, review of The Palace Affair, p. 57.

ONLINE

Fantastic Fiction Web site,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (April 15, 2007), bibliography of Una-Mary Parker.

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