Jean Plaidy: I haven't actually read any Jean Plaidy since high school so I can't really vouch for her, but she dominated the romance novel scene in the 1950s and '60s. She's definitely worth looking into.
|This book taught me all I know about Margaret of Anjou|
Norah Lofts: I remember that I liked her a lot, but no specific titles come to mind.
Anya Seton: I loved Anya Seton's novels. Her two best, in my opinion, are The Winthrop Woman, about Elizabeth Winthrop, daughter in law of John Winthrop, and Katherine, about the mistress of John of Gaunt, whose descendants eventually became the Tudor kings of England. I still reread Katherine once in a while. Another one of hers that I haven't read since high school, but has stuck with me is Dragonwyck, a sad and spooky novel set in a Hudson River Patroon family in the 1840s.
|My mother's copy had this book jacket|
Georgette Heyer: The queen of the regency romance. Her novels are witty, rather than gothic. Try The Grand Sophy. It's the one that got me hooked on her.
Mary Stewart: Wrote some cracking suspenseful romances. The Ivy Tree is a good one to start with. It's a contemporary romance, if you can consider 1960 "contemporary." This one had a plot twist that I totally did not see coming. I also liked My Brother Michael. Her novel The Moon-Spinners was made into a movie starring Hayley Mills. (Love her!) Mary Stewart also wrote a very good King Arthur trilogy and The Little Broomstick, one of my favorite children's novels.
Kathleen Winsor: Forever Amber. As far as I know, this is the only thing she ever wrote, but it's so much fun to read. Forever Amber is notorious for being banned in fourteen states and listed on the "Index"--the list of books that Catholics were not allowed to read. I think I've written about it before, as an example of what a trashy book ought to be. What's really impressive about Forever Amber is the dialogue. Set in the 1600's when the English language was rich in colorful insults, which all get used in this book.
|Awesome Vintage Cover|