The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 1, 2012

September 1, 1906

Eleanor Alice Burford (September 1, 1906 to January 18,  1993) was born in London and married George Percival Hibbert, a businessman some years older than she, when she was in her early twenties. She was very beautiful. . He died in the 1960s. Mrs. Hibbert was very private and information about her life is sparse. Her father worked odd jobs and she dropped out of school to work in a shop. But marriage gave her time to write. Her husband was a leather merchant and shared her love of books. According to her New York Times obituary:

In all, Mrs. Hibbert wrote about 200 novels. They were romantic tales, often filled with rich historical detail, that regularly featured young women living in castles and country manors. She said she focused on "women of integrity and strong character" who were "struggling for liberation, fighting for their own survival."

Her books, which were translated into 20 languages, were especially popular in her native England, the United States and Australia. Although some critics dismissed her books, others found them well-done works of their type.

Her first published novel was "Beyond the Blue Mountains" (1947), under the Plaidy name. Eventually she wrote 90 Plaidy books, many of which were historical novels about royalty.

In 1960 she tried a new name and a new genre. At the suggestion of an agent, Patricia Schartle Myrer, Mrs. Hibbert wrote a romantic suspense novel set in Cornwall and published under the Victoria Holt pen name. The result, "Mistress of Mellyn," was an instant international best seller.

Thirty more Holt novels followed, establishing Mrs. Hibbert as a pioneer in the romantic suspense or Gothic genre.

Here are the names under which she wrote:
Eleanor Burford,
Jean Plaidy,
Elbur Ford,
Kathleen Kellow,
Ellalice Tate,
Anna Percival,
Victoria Holt,
Philippa Carr

It was as Victoria Holt that Hibbert wrote the romance novel, The Shadow of the Lynx. (1971) In this story there is a cat named Bella. Other stuff no doubt also happens. There were no children to survive the Hibberts.

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