If you’re a fan of romance novels, then you would have probably come across the name Barbara Cartland. She was a prolific author who penned over 700 books in her lifetime, making her one of the most successful novelists of all time. In this article, we’ll dive into the best Barbara Cartland books you should add to your reading list and explore the life and legacy of this legendary writer.
The Life and Legacy of Barbara Cartland
Barbara Cartland was an English novelist and one of the most prolific authors of all time. Born in 1901, she began writing at the age of 21 and continued until her death in 2000, leaving behind a legacy of 723 novels. Her books have sold over 1 billion copies worldwide and have been translated into 36 languages, earning her a place in the Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific author.
Cartland’s writing career spanned over 70 years, during which she wrote every day, even in her later years. She believed that writing was the key to her youthfulness, and her dedication to her craft is evident in the vast number of books she produced.
Her first book, Jigsaw, was published in 1923, and she went on to write hundreds of novels over the course of her career. Her last novel, Camfield Place, was published in 2000, just before her death at the age of 98.
A Brief Biography of Barbara Cartland
Barbara Cartland was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, on July 9, 1901. She was the daughter of a British army officer, and her family was well-connected in society. Cartland was educated privately and began writing at a young age, publishing her first story at the age of 21.
Cartland’s early life was marked by tragedy when her brother Ronald died in World War I. She was devastated by his death and later wrote that it was the catalyst for her writing career, as she turned to writing as a way to cope with her grief.
Cartland married three times, and her second marriage to Hugh McCorquodale produced two sons. Her third husband, the actor and singer Maurice McCorquodale, was her partner until his death in 1993.
The Impact of Cartland’s Work on Romance Literature
Cartland was known for her romance novels, which were set in various historical periods and often featured heroines who were strong-willed and independent, breaking the mold of how women were typically portrayed in those times.
Her impact on the romance genre cannot be overstated. She was a pioneer in the genre with her imaginative stories and strong heroines. Her books were popular not just in England, but around the world, and she inspired other well-known writers such as Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins.
Cartland’s influence extended beyond her books and into the lives of her readers. Many of her fans wrote to her to express how her books had helped them through difficult times and provided comfort and inspiration.
Today, Cartland’s legacy lives on through her extensive body of work and her impact on the romance genre. Her books continue to be read and enjoyed by generations of readers around the world.
Top Barbara Cartland Books to Start With
If you’re new to Barbara Cartland’s works, here are three books you should start with:
A Hazard of Hearts
A Hazard of Hearts is set in Regency England and follows the story of Lady Serena Carlow, who is forced to marry the wicked Lord Vulcan to pay off her father’s debts. But when she discovers that he is planning to sell her to a much older man for even more money, she runs away and is rescued by the dashing Lord Justin.
As Lady Serena and Lord Justin travel across the countryside, they face numerous obstacles and dangers, including a group of bandits and a treacherous river. Along the way, they fall deeply in love, but must overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart.
This fast-paced novel has all the elements of a classic romance, with passion, drama, and danger at every turn. It’s a great introduction to Cartland’s work, and is sure to leave you wanting more.
The Wicked Marquis
The Wicked Marquis is set in France during the reign of Louis XV and follows the story of the young and innocent Arabella Latham, who is kidnapped by the worldly and cynical Marquis de Chancel. As they travel across France, Arabella begins to see beneath the Marquis’s cynical exterior and falls in love with him.
But as Arabella and the Marquis grow closer, they face numerous challenges, including the disapproval of Arabella’s family and the Marquis’s past misdeeds. Can they overcome these obstacles and find happiness together?
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to create complex and engaging characters, even when the setting is relatively unfamiliar. The vivid descriptions of 18th century France will transport you to another time and place, and the romance between Arabella and the Marquis is sure to tug at your heartstrings.
The Innocent Imposter
The Innocent Imposter is set in Regency England and follows the story of the beautiful but penniless Alicia, who is taken in by the kindly Lord Fitzwarren when she is mistaken for his long-lost daughter. But when the real daughter returns, Alicia must decide if she will reveal the truth and risk losing everything.
As Alicia struggles with her conscience, she finds herself falling in love with Lord Fitzwarren’s handsome nephew, the dashing Lord Robert. But can their love survive the secrets and lies that threaten to tear them apart?
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to create strong heroines who are able to navigate difficult situations and find their own paths. Alicia’s journey from penniless orphan to confident young woman is sure to inspire and delight readers of all ages.
Overall, these three novels are a great introduction to Barbara Cartland’s work. Whether you’re a seasoned romance reader or new to the genre, you’re sure to find something to love in these classic tales of love, passion, and adventure.
The Best Historical Romance Novels by Cartland
Cartland is perhaps best known for her historical romance novels, and here are three of the best:
The Duke and the Preacher’s Daughter
The Duke and the Preacher’s Daughter is set in Victorian England and follows the story of the spirited and independent Angelina, who falls in love with the handsome and charming Duke of Lyndhurst. But when she learns that he’s only interested in her dowry, she must decide if she will give in to his wishes or follow her heart.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s skill at depicting the mores of the time while also creating characters who are able to challenge those norms.
Victorian England was a time of strict social rules and expectations, particularly for women. Angelina’s decision to follow her heart and not give in to societal pressure is a bold and daring move, and one that would have been frowned upon at the time. Cartland’s portrayal of Angelina as a strong and independent woman is a refreshing change from the typical damsel in distress often found in romantic novels of the time.
The Reluctant Bride
The Reluctant Bride is set in Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great and follows the story of the beautiful and headstrong Natasha, who is forced to marry the arrogant and controlling Prince Mikhail. But when she learns that he’s only interested in her for her beauty and her family’s wealth, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to create characters who are able to break free from the constraints of their time and society.
During the reign of Catherine the Great, women had very little agency and were often treated as property. Natasha’s decision to take control of her own life and stand up to Prince Mikhail is a bold move that would have been unheard of at the time. Cartland’s portrayal of Natasha as a strong and independent woman is a testament to her ability to create complex and fascinating heroines.
The Elusive Earl
The Elusive Earl is set in Regency England and follows the story of the lovely and innocent Vivienne, who is taken in by the mysterious and reclusive Earl of Greystoke. As they begin to fall in love, Vivienne learns that the Earl has a dark secret that could ruin them both.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to create complex and fascinating heroes who are able to surprise and captivate the reader.
Regency England was a time of strict social rules and expectations, particularly for the upper class. The Earl’s mysterious past and dark secret would have been scandalous in the eyes of society. Cartland’s portrayal of the Earl as a complex and multi-dimensional character adds depth and intrigue to the story, and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
Exploring the Magic of Cartland’s Fantasy Romance Novels
Cartland was not just a writer of historical romances; she also wrote several fantasy romance novels that are worth exploring. Here are three of the best:
The Enchanted Gown
The Enchanted Gown is set in medieval England and follows the story of the brave and resourceful Princess Melita, who is cursed by an evil sorcerer and must find a way to break the curse before it’s too late.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s vivid imagination and her ability to create fantastical worlds.
The Magic of Love
The Magic of Love is set in Regency England and follows the story of the lovely and kind-hearted Lady Helena, who discovers that she has magical powers that she must use to save her beloved from a wicked enchantress.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to blend historical romance with elements of the supernatural.
The Goddess of Love
The Goddess of Love is set in ancient Greece and follows the story of the beautiful and wise Princess Psyche, who is loved by the god of love, Eros. But when she defies him, he punishes her by sending her on a dangerous quest.
This novel is a great example of Cartland’s ability to create engaging and intelligent heroines even in fantastical settings.
Barbara Cartland was a trailblazer in the romance genre, creating engaging characters and imaginative stories that captured the hearts of readers around the world. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to her work, there’s no denying that her novels remain timeless classics that are worth exploring.
Who is Barbara Cartland?
Barbara Cartland was an English writer, who wrote romances, both contemporary and historical, throughout the 20th century. Many of her stories were set during the Edwardian and Victorian historical periods.
What is Barbara Cartland famous for?
She was regarded as the ‘Queen of Romance’ and is one of the highest-selling romance authors in the world.
When was Barbara Cartland writing?
She was born in 1901 and died in 2000, and wrote her best-selling work from the late 1940s to the 1970s.
What are some of Barbara Cartland’s top books?
Duel of Hearts, A Hazard of Hearts, The Wicked Marquis, The Bored Bridegroom, and The Unknown Heart are popular favorites.