In Memoriam: Jo Beverley

Jo Beverley at the Literacy Signing RWA Convention 2015

Jo Beverley at the Literacy Signing RWA Convention 2015

It is with absolute devastation that I discovered yesterday that my favorite romance author, Jo Beverley, has died.

 

Mary Jo Putney, a member of her blogging group Word Wenches, posted about Jo’s life and death, which you can find here. It is a wonderful memorial to her long-time friend.

This brief post will tell you a bit about my personal feelings for Jo, who was a great inspiration for me as a writer.

My introduction to Jo Beverley’s writing was in a short story, “The Determined Bride,” setMarried at Midnight in the Georgian period. It so enchanted me with the characters and the neat way she plotted it, that I started collecting her books, both Regency and Georgian. And immediately grew to love anything she wrote. I read them mostly out of sequence, picking up the paperback books through Amazon, used book stores, thrift stores, and when new ones came out, at Barnes & Noble.  I remember clearly seeing The Secret Bride at a Food Lion and grabbing it.

I don’t think I have any of her books, save one novella, as an  e-book. I always wanted her books in my hands, as though that tangible object brought me one step closer to her somehow. I love all her books, some more than others, naturally, but my two favorites are from the  Malloren series, 9780451199973Something Wicked, and Devilish. They are the only books I’ve ever read that when I re-read them, I’m on the edge of my chair, wondering if the couples will get together in the end. No matter that I know the outcome, it always feels like the first time.

Then, at the Atlanta RWA National convention, I met Jo for the first time. I was at a PAN authors event and I saw her standing talking to someone. Quaking in my shoes, I waited until she was free and as I approached her, she opened her arms and hugged me. Then, she stepped back and said, “Oh, please forgive me, I thought you were someone else.” (Like I would be offended that she’d hugged me!) I told her I was an author, and my name, and she said, “Oh, yes, I’ve heard of you.” That’s when I came very close to losing it. I didn’t, but I proceeded to fan-girl all over myself as we talked for a few minutes.

I met her several other times during that conference and at both the San Antonio National, where I attended her workshop on English Titles, and at the New York conference last year. Each year I went to the Literacy Signing, but I only have two books signed by her, because I was signing books myself in San Antonio and didn’t get to her booth that year. A major regret.

My Georgian series, The House of Pleasure, and particularly the first book, Only Scandal Will Do, was inspired by Jo’s Malloren series, which I’ve read and re-read many times. I did get to tell her that in Atlanta and I plan to dedicate the third book in the series, Only A Mistress Will Do, to Jo for her inspiration and the countless hours of reading enjoyment she’s given me.

I bought her latest, The Viscount Needs A Wife, last Sunday and I plan to savor it ratherViscount needs a wife than gobble it as I usually do with a Jo Beverley book. And all of Jo’s fans will rejoice even in their sorrow to know that she’d completed one final book that should be released next spring, according to Mary Jo Putney’s post. So there is one last encore to look forward to.

I am a great fan of the movie Shakespeare in Love, and when I heard the news about Jo’s death, I was reminded of a scene in that movie when a company of actors is informed of the playwright Christopher Marlowe’s death. Ned Allyn, the company’s premiere actor, played by Ben Affleck, says of him, “He was the first man among us.  A great light has gone out.”

For the romance community now a great light has gone out as well.

Jo Beverly, a great light indeed.

This entry was posted in Historical Romance, In Memorium and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to In Memoriam: Jo Beverley

  1. T J Herron says:

    I am stunned as I had just become a fan in the last last month or so! Read the complete Company of Rouges in that time! Had joined her newsletter list! Really loved her Company of Rouges books! They were really so very good! Read them one after another! Just couldn’t get enough of them! She will be missed so much! Sending condolences to her family and friends! With His Blessings, TJ Herron

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Hi, TJ. Yes, it’s still stunning to think she’s gone. Her books were so marvelous. And if you loved the Company of Rogues, I’m sure you will love her Malloran series as well. They are some of my all time favorites. She is, indeed, so very missed.

      Like

  2. D'Ann says:

    I’m sorry. It stinks to lose someone you admire so much. I’ve never met her, but I know someone who knows her well, and I’m sure is deeply saddened, too. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheri Fredricks says:

    I hadn’t heard of Jo’s passing. Your post is beautiful and I loved hearing your story of how you were able to meet her. Lucky you!! I have several of her books, none of which are electronic copies. Thank you for remembering her in such a lovely way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Thank you so much, Sheri. I am so grateful to her for introducing me to the Georgian period, which I love, and of course the Regency. Both her series in those are jewels. I am so thankful I did get to meet her several times, but you know how it is, no matter how many times I might have spoken with her, had she been with us longer, it would never have been enough.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Darlene says:

    Such a great loss. She always made you feel like a good friend, even if you never met her. A lovely tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Ella Quinn ~ Author and commented:
    The historical romance world is reeling from the death of Jo Beverley this week. Jo was not only a talented author, but one of the most generous ladies I’ve had the pleasure to know. A great light has truly gone out.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Daryl Devore says:

    What a fabulous memory you have of her – her hugging you then saying that she’d heard of you.
    Tweeted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Melissa Keir says:

    I’m so sorry. I really respect a long career like she had in such a changing world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      She did have a long career, Melissa, which is amazing considering how different the market is now than when she began writing. Truly a gracious lady and a kick-butt author.

      Like

  8. Barbara Bettis says:

    A lovely tribute, Jenna. She was truly one of the Grande Dames of the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have read Jo’s stories as well. It’s been years since I’ve picked one up, and I think I need to now. I feel about Kathleen E Woodiwiss, like you feel about Jo Beverly. I wish I would have been able to met the woman who made me fall in love with romance novels like you did. Feel very honored you got that chance! And that’s so awesome that she’d heard of your name!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      I am eternally grateful I did get to meet this wonderful woman, more than once. Her autographed books will be treasures for me always. And I do understand about Kathleen Woodiwiss–she’s the reason I began to write romance. Jo Beverley saying she’d heard my name has to have been the high point in my writing career. I’ll never know if she read a book of mine, but I can always dream about that.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. krblake says:

    I hadn’t heard, Jenna. Thanks so much for posting. I read quite a few of Jo’s as well as Mary Jo Putney’s books. Though I realize people don’t live forever, sometimes I think my favorite authors are immortal. Sadly, they are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      That is so true. The people we perceive as great have that timeless quality that should defy mortality, but sadly cannot. I have a little cadre of authors whose books are an automatic buy. I’ll go grab some more as soon as I can, for we are not given tomorrow, and somehow that makes me feel like I’m holding them closer.

      Like

  11. It is a shame. I’m sure I read some of her books back when I wasn’t writing. And, certainly, she’s been a big name in the industry for a very long time. May she rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Thank you, Trish. I know you’ve heard me talk about her enough over the years. Her and Kathleen Woodiwiss were my favorites. The sad part is all the grand dames are getting older, no matter how hard we wish them to be eternally youthful.

      Like

  12. I am so sorry to hear this news. I have read and own several of her books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      I plan to start a re-reading fest myself, and review her books one a week. I’m hoping I missed some novellas in anthologies, so I’ll have new ones to discover.

      Like

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