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The Diary of Anne Ku
DAME BARBARA CARTLAND
23 May 2000 Tuesday getting warmer, no rain at least
Dame Barbara Cartland died at the age of 98, having written more than 723 historical romance novels. Her books have been translated into 36 languages. By selling more than a billion books, she entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world's best-selling author.
Interestingly, she was the step-grandmother to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Among other eccentricities, she was famous for her love of pink which began in 1923 when visiting an Egyptian tomb.
I came across her work as a teenage addict of Harlequin Romance novels.* Dame Barbara, as she is affectionately referred to in this country, believed in real love and wrote of love not sex. In fact, kisses were considered daring. Her plots were predictable, typically that of a young virgin who gets sweeped off her feet by a dashing young man from the aristocracy. Despite hundreds of variations of the same theme, her readers, like myself, could hardly tire of her stories.
I feel a loss that I didn't get the chance to meet this fine lady. After all, it was probably her novels that lured me into this country: in search of Prince Charming. Unfortunately, by the time I do meet one, he is likely to be married, divorced but attached, or gay. In the worst case, he could be young enough to be my son.
* Note: Harlequin Romances are equivalent of the Mills and Boones romantic novels. After painstakingly building up a collection in my teens, I generously gave them to my young brother for safe-keeping when I left home. Without telling me, he proceeded to swap every single one of them for Robert Ludlum and Federick Forsythe's spy novels. No wonder he is not a romantic like myself!