Education: Earned Ph.D.
Home—CA. Office—College of Marin, Kentfield Campus, 835 College Ave., Kentfield, CA. 94904. E-mail—[email protected]
Academic. College of Marin, Kentfield, CA, professor of English.
James Tipton is a professor of English at Kentfield, California's College of Marin, where he also serves as a part-time instructor over the summer sessions. Tipton received a Ph.D. prior to lecturing at the College of Marin.
Tipton published his first novel, Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution, in 2007. The historical fiction novel is set during the French Revolution and depicts the life of Annette Vallon, the French mistress of the English poet William Wordsworth. Tipton uses what little information is available about her life and creates a story in the gaps.
Helen Mitsios, reviewing the novel in the Philadelphia Inquirer, commented that "though the novel is delightful in many ways, and Tipton a consummate storyteller, the biggest distraction is the persona of Annette herself. The author is not at his best when he tries to plumb the depths of his heroine's heart. Her emotional dilemmas often ring of cliche, and most of her romantic interludes read like episodes in a romance novel." Luan Gaines, writing on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site, summarized that "from her early love affair to the dangerous service of others, a spoiled girl becomes an impressive heroine, later painfully reunited with her poet-lover. The revolutionary ideal given new meaning, Annette Vallon is a champion of human rights who endures much in the formation" of France. A contributor writing on the Dear Author Web site directed her comments toward Tipton, stating: "I tried to keep in mind that a man was writing the book I was reading but honestly, I must say I think you succeeded well in getting inside the head of this woman." The same contributor concluded by saying that "I wish more about her was easily accessible to the English speaking reader and would have enjoyed getting a chance to read some of the letters to Wordsworth that came to light after WWI."
Booklist contributor Laurie Sundborg described the novel as "a skillfully drawn portrait of" Annette Vallon "that will be enjoyed immensely by readers of literary historical fiction." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that Annette, as well as "those who help her along the way—are believable in their struggles through the best and the worst of times." Leigh Wright, writing in Library Journal, commented that "fans of Wordsworth's poetry will find much to love here." Wright doubted, however, that others would "find anything to hold their interest." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews mentioned: "Though the number of great escapes she's involved in begins to veer into implausibility, Tipton is able to balance the action with the history." The same critic described the book as "a pleasing literary fancy set against the terrors of the" infamous French Revolution.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2007, Laurie Sundborg, review of Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution, p. 31.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007, review of Annette Vallon.
Library Journal, September 1, 2007, Leigh Wright, review of Annette Vallon, p. 130.
Marin, November, 2007, Samantha Berry, author interview.
Philadelphia Inquirer, January 14, 2008, Helen Mitsios, review of Annette Vallon.
Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2007, review of Annette Vallon, p. 51.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (July 4, 2008), Luan Gaines, review of Annette Vallon.
Dear Author,http://dearauthor.com/ (November 9, 2007), review of Annette Vallon.