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Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert, better known to readers as Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr, and Jean Plaidy, was one of the world's most beloved and enduring authors. Her career spanned five decades and she was heralded as the "Queen of Romantic Suspense." The evolution of this sub-genre of romance began when her first bestseller, MISTRESS OF MELLYN (labeled "gothic romance"), was published in 1960. Her writing style later influenced other authors of gothic-style romantic suspense.
Eleanor was born on September 1, 1906 in London, England. Although she began writing at an early age, none of her books were published until 1949. Her first historical novel was written under the pseudonym of Jean Plaidy. It did not meet with instant acclaim, but with each succeeding book, her readership grew at a steady pace.
Eventually her writing caught the attention of an American publisher, who believed Eleanor had the potential to become a bestselling author. She was contracted to write a novel that combined romance, suspense, and gothic (dark) elements. MISTRESS OF MELLYN by Victoria Holt was the result, and it was an immediate success.
In the early 1970s, Eleanor adopted the pseudonym of Philippa Carr and the first volume of her ST. BRUNO series, a lengthy family saga, was published. She also continued to write historical fiction under the name of Jean Plaidy and romantic suspense as Victoria Holt—up until the time of her death on January 18, 1993.
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