Monday, September 17, 2012

Favorite Author: Elizabeth Stuart - Simply Superb Romances, Every One of Them!

There are only a handful of authors who, in my opinion, consistently deliver 5 star historical romances—Elizabeth Awbrey aka Elizabeth Stuart is one of them. I have read all her novels and highly recommend them. All garnered 5 stars from me. She is a superb storyteller and weaves in the historical details so seamlessly you do not even realize you’ve suddenly deep in the history of another time. Hers are novels to curl up with on a rainy day…all keepers!

Elizabeth spent her childhood on an Arkansas farm surrounded by animals. Later, she spent ten years in Louisiana working in hospital management. She enjoys horseback riding (reflected in her novels) and has traveled in Europe. When last heard of she was residing in St. Louis.

Unfortunately for her readers (but fortunately, I’m sure, for her family), she stopped writing in 1995 to raise a family. It’s been over fifteen years since we’ve had any news and one can only hope she is writing again. I just LOVE her work!

During the years she wrote romance novels, she gave us some of the finest. All her novels are on my “Best Romances” lists. All, save the first, were written under the name Elizabeth Stuart.

RECKLESS ANGEL (1988, writing as Elizabeth Awbrey) – Western historical
HEARTSTORM (1989) –Scottish historical
WHERE LOVE DWELLS (1990, winner of the RITA Award for Best Historical in 1991) –Welsh historical
WITHOUT HONOR (1994) –Scottish historical
BRIDE OF THE LION (1995, winner of Romantic Times’ best Medieval Historical Romance) –English medieval

15 comments:

  1. Though, Elizabeth Stuart (Elizabeth Awbrey) stopped writing to raise her family, her books would never be forgotten. :) Among her novels, "Bride of the Lion" captured my heart the most - it's a very marvelous book! A passionate love story in the grandest tradition!

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    1. Just saw your comment Julio. I do agree. She is an amazing author. Perhaps when her children are grown she might return to writing. We can only hope.

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  2. Dear Regan, I regularly check your reviews on Goodreads and often I find that the books I like also gained your liking. So this post about Elizabeth Stuart was not a surprise :) Thank you for the information! I've just finished Without Honor (my first experience with her books being Heartstorm) and I'm absolutely stunned at how magnificently she weaves her tale of love against the backdrop of a painful time in history, with excellent characterization (no childish temper tantrums, her heroes actually talk! I loved that in Heartstorm too, she never let a misunderstanding dominate her story) and a complex plot. What I liked most was her almost scholarly discipline, avoiding any childish scenes, plot twists, dialogs. I think she must be a very intelligent and sensitive woman and I hope she will write again! Do you know other similar authors who write like her or Judith McNaught or Kathleen Woodiwiss, with rich prose, plausible plot, deep dialogs?

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    1. Ah, Anna, I can see you are a true soul sister when it comes to historical romance. The kind you like are the kind I enjoy--and the ones I try to write! I can recommend Penelope Williamson, Jan Cox Speas (Bride of the MacHugh), Jennifer Horsman, Meagan McKinney, Virginia Henley (the Plantagenet series), Marsha Canham (the Scottish trilogy beginning with Pride of Lions) and Kathleen Givens (all 6 Scottish historicals). I'll be posting my Top 20 Historical Romances later this year. And you might try my new one, The Red Wolf's Prize, to be released Oct 1st.

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    2. Thank you so much, Regan, it's very kind of you to reply so promptly and so informatively :) I wonder how I forgot to mention Penelope Williamson, as she was the one who triggerred this passion for historical romance in me in the first place. I watched the movie The Outsider, then read the book which I didn't like so much (why it was so can be an interesting discussion), but enough to read another one of hers, Heart of the West which absolutely fascinated me (here's my review, if you'd like to read it: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/991897653, as well as others: E. Stuart's Heartstorm: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1032547013, K Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1036108845 If you'd like, you can also read why I didn't like Lord of Scoundrels at all - I only wrote these four reviews), and then the rest is pretty much histori....cal romance!
      Seeing that she was your first recommendation in response to my request just confirmed that you completely understood what I meant. Thanks again and I will definitely read the authors you recommended and your books, too! Is there any of yours especially close to your heart that I can start with? :)

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    3. Anna, it's hard to say. Perhaps in the order I recommended...?

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    4. I meant to ask whether any of your own books was closer to your heart :) I'll start with Racing with the Wind, though. I really appreciate your swift replies, Regan! I'll be looking forward to your next book release. Speaking of the Middle Ages - many greetings from Transylvania, Romania, another region well imbued with medieval history!

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    5. Anna, each of the books has a bit of my heart in them. Perhaps there is more of me in Racing With the Wind than the others but all of my heroines are strong. Each of my fans has a different favorite. Many love Against the Wind. And one reviewer of my newest, The Red Wolf's Prize said the heroine, Serena, is now her favorite. Have you friended me on Facebook?

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    6. Regan, I don't use Facebook (although I quite like everything computer-related), but I will definitely follow you if I reopen my account. I'll follow you on Goodreads, though. GR is the only forum where I am active, with two toddlers running around. Thanks a lot for your thoughts about your heroines. Obviously there must be a piece of you in every one of them, perhaps in different ways. Reading your reviews on GR, which are clear and well-structured, I imagine your heroines are strong indeed :-) I'm reading Ashes in the Wind (Woodiwiss) right now, but once I finish it, Racing with the Wind comes next. Will The Red Wolf's Prize be available in Kindle edition, too? As one who slightly favors medieval over regency, I'm looking forward to reading it.

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    7. Anna, The Red Wolf's Prize is already available on Amazon for preorder (the eBook) and the link is on the left side of my blog. Meanwhile, I loved Ashes in the Wind. As for my Scotland pics, I'll do a Pinterest board when I get back and post the link on my blog so you can see them all.

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    8. Regan, sorry if this comment is misplaced, but it was here that you recommended Jan Cox Speas's Bride of the MacHugh. Wow you were so right! I'm only 70% through, but it's absorbing and absolutely fascinating! I daresay she does easily parallel Elizabeth Stuart. And she does rival the great authors in world literature, like Dumas. Are her other historicals as good as this one, too? Thanks a million for the recommendation!

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    9. Anna, I realized I never responded to this comment. Yes, Jan Cox Speas' books are all good though Bride of the MacHugh is my favorite. Also wanted to tell you my new historical, Rebel Warrior, set in 11th century Scotland is now available. I think you will like it.

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  3. Hi, Regan! Since our short exchange above, I've read all I've found from Elizabeth Stuart and I absolutely share your opinion that she's a solid 5-star author.
    I was checking your list of western romance novels and I was wondering if you had her Reckless Angel in a digital format. Being in Europe, it would be unreasonably troublesome for me to order a used print copy from the US, the only place it seems to be available.
    If you had one top favorite western romance novel, what would it be? :)
    Thanks a lot for your time.

    Anna

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    1. Anna, I have no Elizabeth Stuart books in digital format. I do wish she'd come out of retirement just to publish her backlist. Alas, I know now how to contact her. She's missing money. My top western romance might be one of the two by Penelope Williamson, The Outsider and The Heart of the West. Both are two Kleenex box romances....and wonderful. I also like Dancing on Coals by Ellen O'Connell and Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson. And Mountain Mistress by Nadine Crenshaw (who is another like Elizabeth Stuart--all 5 star novels) is still one of my all time favorites. As a result of that one, I gobbled up all her others.

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  4. Thanks a lot for the prompt reply! Although I haven't read a lot of romance (about 50 of them in total, I think) I must admit Penelope Williamson's Heart of the West is my all-time favorite among them regardless of subgenre, the book which started my "career" as a romance reader and had me read romance night and day for months (in spite of my toddlers running around and deadlines to meet almost every day). I will definitely look into Nadine Crenshaw, starting right now :) Enjoy your Sunday afternoon and thanks again!

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