Lost in a woodland daydream, cherubic eighteen-year-old Anita Lavenham is awoken from a reverie inspired by a sermon about the Devil by the sonorous voice of a handsome gentleman asking her to open the gate she’s leaning on – a gentleman whose imperious, yet raffish air leads her to think that he is Lucifer personified! Anita and her two sisters are impoverished after the loss of their father and their Mama’s illness – and soon she is obliged to go to live in Harrogate with her severe Great-Aunt Matilda, who, to Anita’s chagrin, is determined to marry her off as soon as possible to the ageing and boorish local Parson. It seems she is fated to a life of misery until, by chance, she meets the Dowager Duchess of Ollerton at the Harrogate Pump Room where, to her amazement she realises that the Duchess’s son is none other than her very own handsome fallen angel! Blessed by the kindness of the Duchess, who rescues Anita from the prospect of a loveless marriage and enlists her in the search for a bride for her discerning and disinterested son, Anita finds joy in her magnificent new surroundings and exalted company but still, surely, it is too much for her to hope that she herself might find a true love of her own?
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informationDame Barbara Cartland (9th July 1901 - 21st May 2000)
was the world's most prolific author and is still constantly mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. She wrote no less than 723 books in her lifetime of which 644 were her wonderful romantic novels and the remaining 79 were historical biographies, cookery and lifestyle books.
What is truly extraordinary is that when her publishers in 1977 demanded more and more Barbara Cartlands for her adoring public, she doubled her output at the age of 77 from ten books a year to over twenty. She averaged twenty books a year for twenty years and actually wrote her last book when she was 97.
So she wrote 400 books between the ages of 77 and 97, a feat no one has ever achieved in the past and is most unlikely to do in the future. To date five of her romances have been made into feature films.
Her publishers published 240 of the 400 romances, but even they could not keep up with Barbara, so when she died in 2000 she left 160 unpublished books, which are now all being published as the 'Barbara Cartland Pink Collection' at the rate of one a month by her son Ian as a tribute to his amazing mother.
In 1991 Barbara was invested with a Dame of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen for her services to literature.
This year is the tenth anniversary of Barbara's death and to mark the date Ian is re-publishing in October Barbara Cartland's first book "Jig-saw" as an exact replica of the original 1925 edition, which was an international bestseller at the time.
"My mother achieved so much in her long and active life," says Ian, "but her greatest legacy of all was the happiness and joy she brought to so many millions of people throughout the world with her wonderful romantic stories of true love and happy endings."
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