Thornton, Elizabeth

views updated

Thornton, Elizabeth

PERSONAL: Born in Aberdeen, Scotland; emigrated to Canada, 1969; married; children: three sons. Education: University of Winnipeg, B.A. (Classics Gold Medalist), 1985; attended Aberdeen College of Education. Hobbies and other interests: Reading and travel.

ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 69001, RPO Tuxedo Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2G9, Canada. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer, novelist, and educator. St. Swithin Street Nursery School, Aberdeen, Scotland, founder. Also taught kindergarten and first grade in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; worked as assistant minister in a Presbyterian church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



Bluestocking Bride, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1987.

A Virtuous Lady, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1988.

The Passionate Prude, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Fallen Angel, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1989.

The Worldly Widow, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Scarlet Angel, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Highland Fire, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Dangerous to Love, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.

Dangerous to Kiss, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.

The Bride's Bodyguard, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

Dangerous to Hold, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

You Only Love Twice, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.

Whisper His Name, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.

Strangers at Dawn, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.

Princess Charming, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.

The Perfect Princess, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.

Almost a Princess, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.

Shady Lady, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.

The Marriage Trap, Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.

The Bachelor Trap, Dell (New York, NY), 2006.


Tender the Storm, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Cherished, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Velvet Is the Night, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2002.


Author's works have been translated into numerous foreign languages. Contributor to anthologies, including My Guardian Angel and A Christmas Holiday.

SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Thornton is the author of numerous romance novels, many in the Regency sub-genre, including Dangerous to Love, Dangerous to Kiss, Dangerous to Hold, and The Bride's Bodyguard. Thornton's Dangerous to Love, set in England in the 1800s, is a story of mistaken identity and treacherous machinations. A Publishers Weekly critic commented favorably on the author's knowledge of Georgian-era England, characterizations, and plot development, declaring the novel a "satisfying read." A reviewer for Library Journal, while finding some fault with the plot and characterizations, called the work "interesting" for its historical content and declared it "well written."

Dangerous to Kiss is a Napoleonic War story that revolves around the murder of a young boy's father and the efforts of a young woman to save the boy from a similar fate. Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer applauded Thornton's "witty dialogue," and "graceful prose." With its combination of mystery, romance, and history, Dangerous to Hold follows in the same vein as Dangerous to Kiss, and, like Dangerous to Love, it involves hidden identities. After remarking in Armchair Detective about the difficulty of combining the romance and mystery genres, critic Catherine M. Nelson concluded that Thornton has created a "pretty good story" and understandable plot.

Several other works by Thornton have also received qualified approval. In The Bride's Bodyguard, for one, a young woman searches for her grandfather in France and becomes the target of a killer. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the "cleverly plotted intrigue" of this novel but found the heroine to be unlikable and one who detracts from the story. You Only Love Twice, which takes place during the Regency period in England, recounts the story of a nun with amnesia who finally remembers her identity and must come to grips with her past. According to a Publishers Weekly critic, who admitted that the novel contains some "high points," this time Thornton overwhelmed the plot with two romances and too many devices, such as amnesia and extrasensory perception.

Whisper His Name finds the unmarried Abby Vayle deciding to live her life in the way she prefers, despite the Regency-era restrictions on the behavior of women, particularly unmarried ones. To support herself, she starts a rare book business, and while on a business trip to Paris she becomes involved in an international plot involving her friend and would-be paramour, Hugh Templar. Unknown to Abby, a spy has hidden a book containing important coded messages among a selection of works she bought, and another operative, the evil Nemo, wants desperately to recover the coded volume. When Abby's brother is kidnapped by Nemo, she agrees to return the book, but is stopped when she realizes that it is still being held in customs. Tensions rise as Abby tries to secure the book, and revelations about Hugh's past threaten the escalating relationship between the two. Thornton "creates appealing characters and cleverly weaves in familiar Regency settings and customs," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Thornto's is an intriguing, thrill-filled Regency romp," commented Melanie Duncan in Booklist.

The title character of Princess Charming is Gwyneth Barrie, a young widow whose husband was killed in a war. With a seven-year-old son to support, she moves to London and makes a meager living by offering piano lessons. Her circumstances and deep dissatisfaction with the strictures of English marriage laws inspire her to volunteer some time at the Ladies' League library, which works to renovate English laws and establish a more equitable system for women. When Gwyn receives a visit from cousin (and old flame) Jason Radley, she finds that she has been given an appreciable sum of money from an anonymous donor. She begins to suspect that Jason has had her under surveillance for some time, which would explain the footprints in her flower garden and the unknown person who questioned her son. However, evidence appears that suggests she is under a genuine threat from a determined killer, and Jason enlists the help of Richard Maitland, from London's Special Branch of British intelligence, to help ferret out Gwyn's stalker. Despite the looming threat, a long-dormant romance between Jason and Gwyn one again begins to heat up. "Not only is the romance believable, but the language and attitudes of the characters reflect their period more than is usual in the historical romance" genre, commented Nancy J. Silberstein in a review on the Romance Reader Web site.

Maitland appears again in The Perfect Princess. This time, he is himself under siege, accused of a murder he did not commit and facing imminent execution. His carefully laid plans to escape from Newgate prison are botched when Lady Rosamund Devere and her old friend, Callie, arrive to bring Maitland his last meal and comfort him in his final hours. Callie believes correctly that Maitland has been falsely accused. Rosamund, the "perfect princess" of the title, is a proper but independent woman who has recently fended off a marriage proposal from Prince Michael of Kolnbourg. When they arrive, they find that Maitland is not in his cell, and the man has to resort to an unwilling kidnapping to further his escape plans. As they dodge the authorities, search for the real killer, and try to clear Maitland's name, undeniable passion escalates between the former lawman and the Perfect Princess. "Steamy sex scenes, fiery repartee, and strong characters set this romantic intrigue apart from the usual Regency fare," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Margaret Shelley, writing on the Romance Reader Web site, noted that the novel "transcends cliché on the strength of the main characters alone." Shelley further commended Thornton's deft touch with the emotional development of her characters, stating that "romance readers are not conditioned to expect such subtle, credible progressions to emotional revelation; what a relief to find an author who respects her readers."

At the beginning of Shady Lady, Waldo Bowman is outraged over statements made in the Avon Journal by the publisher of the news broadsheet. Accused of being a rake and a womanizer, he is determined to confront the person who, he claims, has damaged his reputation. To his surprise, Bowman finds that the person in charge is not a vile muckraker but is Jolie "Jo" Chesney, a proud and dedicated journalist who has operated the paper since her husband's death. She and her staff have steadily increased the paper's circulation and standing, due in part to the enormously popular gossip column by Lady Tellall, who is, in reality, Jo's best friend, Chloe Webberly. When Chloe disappears, Jo turns to Bowman for help as she seeks out the woman's diary for potential clues. Romance blossoms between the two, and eventually Bowman finds that he must take a more active role in protecting his new love from a determined sort who believes she possesses Chloe's incriminating diary. Romance "fans will gain plenty of pleasure from this fine historical," commented Harriet Klausner on "Lively, brimming with marvelous dialogue, wit, wisdom, and a pair of delightful lovers, Shady Lady is a joy," remarked Kathe Robin online for Romantic Times.

The Marriage Trap is as "multilayered as a wedding cake and just as delectable," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Eligible but unwilling bachelor Lord Jack Rigg has had enough of the attentions of the group of marriage-minded women who flock around him, and so he has fled London for the more serene Paris. There he meets Ellie Hill, whose double life consists of days as companion to a demanding woman and nights as the mysterious card-playing Madame Aurora. Ellie realizes that she has a past history with Jack, for he once boarded with her family and became the object of her first serious crush. Jack does not remember her, however, but events—including murder, theft, and other crimes—conspire to place them in the path of romance and on the road to marriage. The Publishers Weekly critic named the book a "memorable start to a new trilogy."



Armchair Detective, fall, 1996, Catherine M. Nelson, review of Dangerous to Hold, p. 489.

Booklist, February 15, 1999, Melanie Duncan, review of Whisper His Name, p. 1047; September 15, 2001, Shelley Mosley, review of The Perfect Princess, p. 209; December 15, 2002, Shelley Mosley, review of Almost a Princess, p. 739.

Library Journal, May 15, 1994, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Dangerous to Love, p. 66.

Publishers Weekly, June 13, 1994, review of Dangerous to Love, p. 62; February 27, 1995, review of Dangerous to Kiss, p. 100; February 3, 1997, review of The Bride's Bodyguard, p. 100; December 1, 1997, review of You Only Love Twice, p. 51; February 8, 1999, review of Whisper His Name, p. 210; October 4, 1999, review of Strangers at Dawn, p. 71; October 8, 2001, review of The Perfect Princess, p. 50; May 30, 2005, review of The Marriage Trap, p. 45.


All about Romance, (February 15, 2006), Blythe Barnhill, review of Princess Charming; Andrea Pool, review of The Perfect Princess; Sandy Coleman, review of Almost a Princess., (February 15, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Shady Lady.

Elizabeth Thornton Home Page, (February 15, 2006).

Romance and Friends, (February 15, 2006), review of Almost a Princess.

Romance Reader, (February 15, 2006), Nancy J. Silberstein, review of Princess Charming; Margaret Shelley, review of The Perfect Princess; Jean Mason, review of Almost a Princess.

Romantic Times, (February 15, 2006), Kathe Robin, review of Shady Lady; Joan Hammond, review of Strangers at Dawn.

About this article

Thornton, Elizabeth

Updated About content Print Article