Friday, May 27, 2016

Goodbye Jo Beverley

I was so saddened to learn this week of the death of historical romance great Jo Beverley from cancer. Beverly was one of the first authors I glommed on to after returning to romance reading as an adult, and I learned a bucketful from the one RWA workshop she taught that I was able to attend (on things American writers get wrong when penning British-set historical romance). She was also one of the first people to comment on the RNFF blog—a pragmatic comment, about her difficulty in reading the comments section due to design issues.  She never commented again (because my fan-girling scared her off?), but hearing from a historical romance author I respected as much I did Beverley so early in my blogging career gave me a real boost of confidence that the subject of the blog—analyzing the intersections of feminism and genre romance—might just find it a receptive audience.

In celebration of Beverley's life and career, I'll be spending part of my Memorial Day weekend re-reading my Beverley favorites, both RITA award winners: the Regency-set An Unwilling Bride, with its unusual combination of forced marriage plot and Mary Wollstonecraft-reading heroine, and the 18th century-set Devilish, with its countess-in-her-own right heroine who clashes with the steely-resolved head of the Malloren clan.

Hope you will join me in raising a book in tribute to this amusing, intelligent writer. The romance community has lost a vital member, one who will be more than sorely missed.


  1. Such a heartfelt post! Yes, I'll join you, with a Spanish translation of My Lady Notorious.

  2. Thanks so much for your post. I mightn't have heard about Jo's death otherwise.

    I knew Jo many years ago when she lived in Halifax, NS. We both taught prenatal classes for the local Prepared Childbirth Association and when I wrote my first book -- Teenage Pregnancy: A Resource Kit -- Jo did the illustrations. We lost touch after she moved to BC with her family, but I wasn't a bit surprised when I saw her name on the cover of a romance novel several years later. I'd spent many meetings sitting on the floor of her living room with my back pressed against a bookshelf containing the complete works of Gorgette Heyer.

    Jo approached everything she did intelligently. I remember fondly her spirited defence of romance writing to Peter Gzowski (a Canadian icon for the Americans among you) on CBC. She put him neatly in his place on national radio.

    I remember her with great affection and am saddened by her loss.

    1. Thanks, Jan, for sharing your memories of Jo Beverley. A woman of many many talents.