Warner Books’ Purple Prose Gothic Lady
An Old Romance Favorite
Back in the early to mid-1990s, when I was an avid reader of solely romances, there were just a few authors who were my automatic-must-buys. Rebecca Brandewyne, along with Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey, were my favorites.
On the back covers, Brandewyne would pose dressed as the heroines in the Howard Eastwood photos. At the beginning of her novels, there would be a cast of characters list and a poem. Broken up into several books or parts, her epic stories began with a prologue. Sometimes the couple was already together in them. They (usually) ended with a happy epilogue.
And let’s not forget the Elaine Duillo cover art. That practically was de rigeur for a romance diva.
The covers were so stunning Warner Books showed off the images on the inner back cover of each of Brandewyne’s books.
Rebecca Brandewyne Biography
Mary Rebecca Wadsworth was born in Tennessee in 1955. She lived there with her large family before moving to Kansas.
Brandewyne attended Wichita State University. She would go on to graduate cum laude with a BA honors degree in journalism and a minor in music and history. Eventually, she went on to earn a master’s degree in communications.
Brandewyne has been married twice. Although both marriages ended in divorce, her first marriage to musician Gary Brock resulted in one child. They had a son named Shane.
Sadly, there would be some acrimony between Brandewyne’s first ex-husband and her and her family. In 2006 a Wichita jury found AuthorHouse, a PO (or Vanity Press-publisher) guilty of publishing a book that was libelous against Brandewyne.
The book was 2013’s Paperback Poison: the Romance Writer and the Hit Man. Gary Brock, Brandewyne’s ex, and his new wife, Debbie Brock wrote it. The book’s lurid allegations would have little to no basis in reality. Ultimately, the judge granted Brandewyne and her parents a hefty settlement.
Rebecca Brandewyne, Historical Romance Author, First Era
Let’s return to happier days during the mid-1970s. In college, Brandewyne started to write a novel. It would become her first official work, No Gentle Love. She signed a contract at 21 with Warner. When she was 23 in 1980 the book got its official release. At the time, Rebecca Brandewyne was the youngest person to pen a romance novel.
No Gentle Love capitalized on the bodice ripper style of the 1970s. Indeed, her first three romances are unapologetic bodice rippers. They include continent-hopping, rape or attempted rape, extreme violence, and/or multiple sex partners.
Rose of Rapture, her fourth novel, was about love during the English Wars of the Roses and still old-school in style. Moving forward, however, Brandewyne’s books would have a more Gothic tone, be they set in the American West or in Regency or Victorian-era England.
Rebecca Brandewyne, Historical Romance Author, Second Era
1989’s secret-identity pirate romp, Desire in Disguise, was an exception to this, as it was a humorous deviation from her usual dark-themed works. Upon a Moon-Dark Moor and Across a Starlit Sea were the first two novels of her unfinished Highclyffe Hall trilogy. Unfortunately, the last book of the planned series, Beneath a Sun-Gold Sky, was never released.
Upon a Moon-Dark Moor opted for (IMO) the horrible decision to use a step-back cover. Why did they want to hide that beautiful red dress Maggie Chandler wore? Wisely, the publishers rethought this design and returned to the previous style for a few more books.
Gregg Gulbronson would illustrate the other non-Elaine cover, Desperado.
Warner Books released Swan Road, a Viking romance about Ragnar Lodbrok’s fictional bastard son, with a step-back cover. They also did this for Brandewyne’s next and last novel for their publishing company, The Jacaranda Tree, released in 1995.
Beyond Historical Romance & Legacy
Brandewyne would write two science-fantasy romance novels for Pocket Books, Passion Moon Rising and Beyond the Starlit Frost. These books made up another uncompleted trilogy called The Chronicles of Tintagel.
Some of the prestigious literary awards won by Brandewyne include the Classic Award, Golden Quill Award, Bronze Pen Award, Gold Certificate, Reviewer’s Choice Award, Reviewer’s Choice Certificate, Career Achievement Award, and the Novelist of the Year of Historical Romance. Press and fans alike considered Brandewyne one of the “Leading Ladies of Love.”
Theirs was no gentle love/ Born of soft romance/ But a flaming passion/ Which burned the bitter memories of time/ And set ablaze forever/ The shadows of their lives.NO GENTLE LOVE
Where is Brandewyne Now?
Unfortunately, Ms. Brandewyne has disappeared from the romance genre entirely. In fact, I could find no information about her on the internet since the release of her last book in 2009. She lives in Kansas with her son.
If a reader has any information regarding whatever happened to this amazing author, please let us know!