Charlotte Lamb (aka Shelia Holland)

More Than a Romance Author

My Charlotte Lamb Experience

Charlotte Lamb, born Sheila Ann Mary Coates, is one of my favorite authors, period. Although she wrote seemingly simple category romances, her books were so much more than that. She wrote like few other authors in her field could: fully inhabiting her characters’ minds and giving them larger-than-life personalities.

Her heroes could be fiercely chauvinistic and cruel with deep-seated psychological issues, others kind, understanding, and emotionally strong. Lamb’s heroine ran the gamut from sheltered teenaged virgins, competent working women struggling to make it in their field, sophisticated urban ladies who’d been around the block once or twice. Her Harlequin Presents Seduction has been seared into my memory, as one of the earliest romances I read. It was so chock-full of insanity and fantastic writing; I couldn’t get enough.

seduction

But more than anything, what made her writing stand out from most other authors in her genre was her insightfulness and wonderful characterization.

On her best days, anyway.

I have given so many 5 stars to Some of Charlotte Lamb’s books. But I’ve 1-starred quite a few as well. For like a power hitter in baseball, Lamb would swing for the crowds but sometimes came up short. That’s alright. Babe Ruth once held the record for most home runs, but he also struck out more than other batters. I’d take the good with the bad any day.

Sheila Coates-Holland, Life

Shiela Coates was born on December 22, 1937, in Essex, England, in the East End of London. As a child, she was moved from relative to relative to escape the bombings of World War II. Sheila attended the Ursuline Convent for Girls.

On leaving school at 16, the convent-educated author worked for the Bank of England as a clerk. Sheila continued her education by taking advantage of the B of E’s enormous library during her lunch breaks and after work. She worked there from 1954 to 1956, and then as a junior researcher for the BBC at Broadcasting House from 1956 to 1958.

While there, she met Richard Holland, then a Fleet Street journalist, later a sub-editor of The Times, and a classical biographer. In 1959, she and Richard were married. They had five children, including a set of twins: Michael, Sarah, Jane Charlotte, and David Holland.

A voracious reader of romance novels, Sheila began writing at her husband’s suggestion in the early 1970s.

Sheila Holland, the Writer

She wrote her first book in three days with three children underfoot! In between raising her five children (including a set of twins), Sheila wrote several more novels. She used both her married and maiden names, Sheila Holland and Sheila Coates. Her first novel under her most famous pseudonym, Charlotte Lamb, Follow a Stranger, was published by Mills & Boon in 1973. She also used the pennames: Sheila Lancaster, Victoria Wolf, and Laura Hardy.

Her first historical and romantic novels were published by Robert Hale and serialized in Woman’s Weekly Digest. Then they would be released by Mills & Boon, before being released as Harlequins in North America.

By the late 1970s, she was an established and successful author, publishing as many as twelve novels a year with Mills and Boon. That annual number rose over the next few years; by the late 1990s, she had published over 160 novels, most of them Mills & Boon romances, other historical novels, and romantic thrillers, achieving over 200 million sales worldwide.

She was one of Harlequin/ Mills & Boon’s, best-selling authors. Under the pen name of Laura Hardy, she would write a few romances for Silhouette books. During the course of Holland’s career, she published with a variety of international publishers including: Playboy Press, Penguin, Collins, Fontana, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Headline, and Simon & Schuster.

Some of her best books, in my opinion, include Crescendo, Temptation, Seduction, Frustration, and Guilty Love.

Legacy and Death

Sheila was a true revolutionary in the field of romance writing. One of the first writers to explore the boundaries of sexual desire, her novels often reflected the forefront of the “sexual revolution” of the 1970s. Her books touched on then-taboo subjects such as child abuse and rape, and she created sexually confident – even dominant – heroines. She was also one of the first to create a modern romantic heroine: independent, imperfect, and perfectly capable of initiating a sexual or romantic relationship. Her heroes were complex and diverse in personality.

Since 1977, Sheila had been living on the Isle of Man with her husband and four of their five children. Sheila passed away on October 8, 2000, in her baronial-style home ‘Crogga’ on the Island. Although two decades have passed since her death, she is greatly missed by her many fans, and by the romance writing community.

Her last novel, a romantic thriller published posthumously with Hodder & Stoughton, was entitled The Angel of Death.

Partial Backlist:

Written as Sheila Holland

  • Prisoner of the Heart (1972)
  • Love in a Mist (1972)
  • Lantern in the Night (1973)
  • Falcon on the Hill (1974)
  • Growing Season (1975)
  • Shadows at Dawn (1975)
  • Caring Kind (1976)
  • Gold of Apollo (1976)
  • Devil and Miss Hay (1977)
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine (1978)
  • Love’s Bright Flame (1978)
  • Maiden Castle (1978)
  • Dancing Hill (1978)
  • Folly by Candlelight (1978)
  • The Masque (1979)
  • Secrets to Keep (1980)
  • Burning Memories (1981)
  • Playing With Fire (1981)
  • The Notorious Gentleman (1980)
  • Miss Charlotte’s Fancy (1980)
  • Dream Master (1982)
  • Tears and Red Roses (1982)
  • Dark Fantasy (1982)
  • Secrets (1983)
  • Men Are Dangerous (1984)
  • Secrets (1984)
  • A Woman of Iron (1985)

Wiritten As Charlotte Lamb

Single Issue Titles

  • Follow a Stranger (1973)
  • Carnival Coast (1973)
  • A Family Affair (1974)
  • Sweet Sanctuary (1976)
  • Star-crossed (1976)
  • Festival Summer (1977)
  • Florentine Spring (1977)
  • Heron Quest (1977)
  • Kingfisher Morning (1977)
  • Hawk in a Blue Sky (1977)
  • Cruel Flame (1978)
  • Desert Barbarian (1978)
  • Devil’s Arms (1978)
  • Master of Comus (1978)
  • Call Back Yesterday (1978)
  • Beware of the Stranger (1978)
  • Disturbing Stranger (1978)
  • Autumn Conquest (1978)
  • Long Surrender (1978)
  • Duel of Desire (1978)
  • Pagan Encounter (1978)
  • Dark Master (1979)
  • Fever (1979)
  • Forbidden Fire (1979)
  • Sensation (1979)
  • Twist of Fate (1979)
  • Silken Trap (1979)
  • Temptation (1979)
  • Dark Dominion (1979)
  • Love is a Frenzy (1979)
  • Frustration (1979)
  • Compulsion (1980)
  • Frozen Fire (1980)
  • Man’s World (1980)
  • Night Music (1980)
  • Obsession (1980)
  • Savage Surrender (1980)
  • Storm Centre (1980)
  • Crescendo (1980)
  • Stranger in the Night (1980)
  • Seduction (1980)
  • Abduction (1981)
  • Dangerous (1981)
  • Desire (1981)
  • Girl from Nowhere (1981)
  • Heartbreaker (1981)
  • Illusion (1981)
  • Retribution (1981)
  • Wild Affair (1982)
  • Midnight Lover (1982)
  • Darkness of the Heart (1983)
  • The Sex War (1983)
  • Betrayal (1983)
  • A Violation (1983)
  • Haunted (1983)
  • Infatuation (1984)
  • Naked Flame (1984)
  • Scandalous (1984)
  • For Adults Only (1984)
  • Love Games (1985)
  • Man Hunt (1985)
  • Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1985)
  • Sleeping Desire (1985)
  • Bride Said No (1985)
  • Explosive Meeting (1985)
  • Heat of the Night (1986)
  • Love in the Dark (1986)
  • Circle of Fate (1987)
  • Whirlwind (1987)
  • Hide and Seek (1987)
  • Kiss of Fire (1987)
  • Echo of Passion (1987)
  • Out of Control (1987)
  • No More Lonely Nights (1988)
  • You Can Love a Stranger (1988)
  • Desperation (1988)
  • Seductive Stranger (1989)
  • Runaway Wife (1989)
  • Rites of Possession (1990)
  • Dark Pursuit (1990)
  • Spellbinding (1990)
  • Dark Music (1990)
  • The Threat of Love (1990)
  • Heart on Fire (1991)
  • Shotgun Wedding (1991)
  • Sleeping Partners (1991)
  • Forbidden Fruit (1991)
  • Dreaming (1993)
  • Fire in the Blood (1993)
  • Falling in Love (1993)
  • Wounds of Passion (1993)
  • Guilty Love (1994)
  • Body and Soul (1994)
  • Vampire Lover (1994)
  • Dying for You (1994)
  • In the Still of the Night (1995)
  • Walking in Darkness (1996)
  • Lovestruck (1997)
  • The Marriage War (1997)
  • Deep and Silent Waters (1998)
  • The Yuletide Child (1998)
  • Treasons of the Heart (1999)
  • Hot Surrender (1999)
  • The Seduction Business (1999)
  • Dormant: Shadow of Angels (2000)
  • Angel of Death (2000)
  • The Boss’s Virgin (2001)

Enemies & Lovers Series

  1. Possession (1979)
  2. A Secret Intimacy (1983)

Barbary Wharf Series

  1. Besieged (1992)
  2. Battle for Possession (1992)
  3. Too Close for Comfort (1992)
  4. Playing Hard to Get (1992)
  5. A Sweet Addiction (1992)
  6. Surrender (1992)

Sins Series

  1. Secret Obsession (1995)
  2. Deadly Rivals (1995)
  3. Haunted Dreams (1995)
  4. Wild Hunger (1995)
  5. Dark Fever (1995)
  6. Angry Desire (1995)
  7. Hot Blood (1996)

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