Stern, Bertha Gladys

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STERN, BERTHA GLADYS (1890–1973), English novelist who wrote under the name "G.B. Stern" and also used the name "Bronwen Gladys Stern." Born in London, G.B. Stern became a writer and journalist after abandoning hopes of a stage career. A prolific author, she published over 50 books, beginning with Pantomime (1914). Her own home background and her travels in Germany and Italy provided color for many of her works, not least those on Jewish themes. Her Matriarch Chronicles (1936) was really the culmination of a series of novels about the Rakonitz family and the pre-Hitler world of assimilated, middle-class European Jewry, and on these works G.B. Stern's once-considerable reputation was based. They include Children of No Man's Land (1923), Tents of Israel (1924), Mosaic (1930), and Shining and Free (1935). The Jewish element is superficial, however, since the novelist's characters – whether they live in Vienna, London, or New York – jealously retain their family loyalties, but not their Judaism. Tents of Israel was published in the U.S. as The Matriarch (1925), and this was the title given to the book's successful stage adaptation (1929), a sequel being The Young Matriarch (1942).

G.B. Stern's other works, which range from novels to autobiography, include Debonair (1928), Little Red Horses (1932), Ten Days of Christmas (1950), and Promise Not to Tell (1964). Like several of her fictional heroines, G.B. Stern married a non-Jew and abandoned Judaism. All in Good Time (1954) dealt with her conversion to Catholicism.


S.J. Kunitz, Twentieth Century Authors, first supplement (1955), incl. bibl. add. bibliography: odnb online.