I was so sad to read about Jo Beverley’s passing this morning when I finally logged onto the internet after several days of electronic vacation.
She is one of handful of authors whose books always made it to my keeper shelf to be read, re-read, and enjoyed over and over again. I am on my second and third copies of many of her books.
It was her writing that triggered my love of Georgian and Regency history, as well as all things English, when I began reading historical romance novels.
Lord of My Heart is the first book of hers that I read. As one reviewer said, it was “witty, slightly bawdy, [and] gently emotional without being overly sentimental.” The characters were wonderfully drawn and the story captivating, and by the time I had finished it I was well and truly hooked.
“Love is too mild a word. You are to me as my heart is to me.” ~ Aimery de Gaillard, Lord of My Heart
I moved on to the Malloren stories next, and then Company of Rogues, and everything else I could find of hers, haunting used books stores for titles that had gone out of print. Though it’s almost impossible to choose, I’d say my favorite heroes of hers were the Three Georges (I can’t pick just one). Their stories – The Demon’s Mistress, The Dragon’s Bride, and The Devil’s Heiress – were rich and layered and exciting and believable, and the Georges were strong and flawed and appealing.
One of the things I liked best about her stories was the sense of community. Though each stood alone, the characters and timelines overlapped and wove together. It made reading her stories feel like visiting and revisiting with beloved family or friends.
I was lucky enough to meet Jo several times at conferences and even luckier to have had the opportunity to talk over dinner (and learn to play hazard) during a “Get Caught Reading at Sea” cruise many years ago.
One of today’s news stories said she died with a pen in her hand, working on revisions to her latest story, and I hope that’s true. What better way to go when your time is up than while doing something you love.
RIP Jo Beverly. Thank you for spinning such wonderful tales and for sharing them with all of us.