Monday, June 22, 2009

The Blue-eyed Witch



The Blue-eyed Witch is #45 in the Bantam series and one of the last books that has a corresponding UK cover illustrated by Francis Marshall. While in the country, the Marquis of Aldridge rescues Idylla, who has lost her memory and is believed to be a witch by the townspeople. He later discovers a plot against her and falls in love trying to thwart it!

Francis Marshall painted a similar cover for these books. Note our hero in the process of rescuing the heroine. The Bantam cover is set near a lake, where they had planned to drown her. The Arrow cover is set outside his estate and our heroine is dressed in evening gown, as opposed to the day dress she wears in the Bantam cover. Both are beautiful illustrations.

The fear of the unknown obsessed people in early 1800's England and many people were hurt or killed by accusations of witchcraft.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Wild Cry of Love


The Wild Cry of Love is #44 in the Bantam series and was published in August 1976. It is the story of Valda who leaves Paris to prove to her stepfather that she can do for herself and earn a living with a camera. While living with gypsies and taking pictures of the wild white horses in Camargue, France, she meet Roydon, an Englishman. Could this be the beginning of love?

Francis Marshall paints 2 similar pictures for these covers and for some reason, I always think that this book is set in Australia! Funny enough, I don't believe that Barbara Cartland ever set a romance there and I wonder why? Anyways, we see our heroine in gypsy costume being surprised by the hero in the Bantam cover. The Pan cover shows her holding the camera, which would have been unique in 1899 to own. I think the Pan cover is more attractive with the white horses in the background.

Photography was still a rare form of art but had come a long way during the 1800's. Film had just been introduced, paving the way for people to take and develop their own pictures. As the cost of film and cameras dropped, more people were able to take advantage of this medium.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Angel in Hell


An Angel in Hell is #43 in the Bantam series and was published in July 1976. It is the story of Ancella, who has taken the position of companion to a Russian princess after the death of her father. In Monte Carlo, Ancella meets the princess's son and wonders if he could fall in love with an unknown English girl? Meanwhile, the princess is obsessed with gambling and keeping her son away from an English Marchioness who is pursuing him!

Francis Marshall painted a similar picture for these 2 books. Both are set in the casino and show the Prince helping Ancella. Note her pretty pink gown and Gibson girl hairdo, which was popular in the 1890's. Both cover show a lady in yellow, which is probably the princess. It's an interesting picture of the rich and famous!

Monte Carlo in Monaco is still known for its beautiful scenery, climate, and gambling. It still attracts the wealthy to come and play! The Casino opened in 1858.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Slaves of Love


The Slaves of Love is #42 in the Bantam series and was published in July 1976. It is the story of Yamina, who is saved by Lord Castleford in the midst of Constantinople. Later, he finds her hidden in an ornate trunk, escaping from the Black Eunich! Read what happens afterwards in this exciting story set during the Crimean War.

Francis Marshall paints 2 interesting pictures for these books. Both are set onboard a yacht, but the Bantam cover shows our couple in an embrace. She wears a purple gown with lots of jewels. I love all of the mosquito netting around the cot! The Pan cover has our heroine emerging from the trunk, dressed in Arabian garb. She wears a long jeweled necklace and her hair is unbound. Our hero does not look pleased to see her there! These both look like fun illustrations and I hope that Francis Marshall enjoyed painting them!

If you google "Francis Marshall" you can find more of his work. He did some illustrations for Argosy Magazine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Passions in the Sand


Passions in the Sand is #41 in the Bantam series and was published in June 1976. It is the story of Vita and how she leaves England and an arranged marriage to visit her cousin Jane in the Syrian desert! On her way to Jane's, Vita is kidnapped by a handsome sheikh, who is an enemy of her cousin's husband. Find out what happens in this thrilling tale by Barbara Cartland! Jane Digby is based on a real person, too!

This book heavily draws from Cartland's love of books like The Sheik, by E. M. Hull, that she read as a young girl. The handsome, masterful hero winning the love of the beautiful young girl!

Francis Marshall paints 2 beautiful pictures for these books. The Bantam one is set in a tent and has the couple struggling together. Note the rich fabrics and gold accessories inside the tent! The Pan cover has our couple outside near a watering trough with the hero embracing the heroine. In both, she wears a candy pink dress or riding skirt and has beautiful strawberry blonde hair! Note that our hero wears almost an identical Arabian headress and robe in both covers! These covers are an exotic picture of love in the desert for her readers!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No Time for Love



No Time for Love is #40 in the Bantam series and was published in June 1976. It is the story of Larina, who finds out that she has a month to live. What happens when she is contacted by the brother of a dead friend and they meet in Italy is the plot of this exciting story!

Francis Marshall illustrated 2 similar covers for this book. Both portray our couple in a romantic, foreign setting. I've always liked the Bantam one, which looks as if our couple is resting after walking up a steep hill. Note her summer hat and sunshade! This book was set in 1904 and the look had changed to a simple style made popular by Gibson's pictures of beautiful women. Fashion was less fussy and ornate. The Pan cover has our couple in a beautiful garden setting. They're wearing evening clothes and look as if they're ready for the dinner bell to ring. Both are beautiful covers.

At this point, I was purchasing Barbara Cartland's books every month. I would get the newest books and purchase the older numbers that I didn't already own. The cost was $1.25 which seems cheap now, but I was babysitting for $1 an hour! On a summer day, I could make up to $8, which would pay for a month of books. I believe the books were being published at the rate of 2 a month, but I would get as many as I could afford in order to have them all! It was a fun way to start book collecting! I also lived in my local library, where I could find Cartland's books and many other authors!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Husband Hunters


The Husband Hunters is #39 in the Bantam series and was published in May 1976. I must admit that this is the first BC book that I bought with my babysitting money, even though I owned a few that had been given to me by others. After reading this book, I was determined to find the other 38 books in this series and it started a passion for book collecting that continues to this day!

This book is about Andrina, who enlists the aid of a distant relative, the Duke of Broxbourne, to help find husbands for her 2 beautiful sisters. He decides to help after realizing that Andrina is the beautiful girl that he stole a kiss from the evening before! How they find husbands and Andrina and the Duke find love is the plot of this story!

I love the Bantam cover! It's so beautiful with Andrina in blue, introducing her sisters to the Duke. Note that their dresses are similar in cut, but different in color! This book is set in 1816 and very regency in style. The Pan cover is pretty with our heroine in pink and outside on a porch with a party in the background.

The Golden Illusion


The Golden Illusion is #38 in the Bantam series and was published in May 1976. This book is about Linetta, who meets the Marquis of Darleston on board the steamer to Paris. He is surprised to meet her later in the home of Blanche d'Antigny, who is a courtesan. Linetta's governess, Blanche's aunt, is dying and sends her to her niece, not knowing her profession. What happens when it is found out that the Marquis and Linetta are distantly related is the plot of this exciting book!

Francis Marshall paints 2 very different covers for this book. I admit that I'm partial to the Bantam one with our heroine in a beautifully elaborate green dress riding with our hero! Note his formal wear, which was popular in the 1860's. The Pan cover is less striking, but still pretty with our heroine in a yellow ballgown. It's interesting to see all the people surrounding them.

Paris in the 1860's was a playground if you were wealthy enough! Courtesans reigned supreme and in the prelude to this book, Blanche d'Antigny is noted as a real person! Men from all over Europe visited Paris and the beautiful women that were its residents!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moon Over Eden


Moon Over Eden is #37 in the Bantam series and was published in April 1976. It is an interesting story set in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, where Dominica is asked by Lord Hawkston to come and marry his nephew. As the oldest of 6 sisters, she feels that she needs to agree to his proposal. Unfortunately, his nephew is cruel and she realizes that she can't marry him. How she ends up marrying Lord Hawkston and living on his tea plantation is the plot of this romance by Barbara Cartland!

I believe that this is the only book Barbara Cartland set in Ceylon. It is interesting because it recounts the tea plantations and how tea was grown after coffee didn't flourish in that area.

Francis Marshall paints 2 similar covers for this book. I've always loved the Bantam one, which has our couple in a glamorous pose near a pond. It's exotic and looks like a bit of paradise! The Pan cover is similar with our heroine in a different dress and hairdo. Note her full bustle dress which was popular in the 1880's.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Elusive Earl


The Elusive Earl is #36 in the Bantam series and was published in April 1976. It is the story of Calista, whose mother is trying to trick the Earl of Helstone into marriage with Calista. She warns him ahead of time, but he chooses not to listen to her and wanders towards a trap!

Francis Marshall painted 2 different covers for this story. Both are set at a circus or fair, but the Pan version shows our heroine as a horsewoman and elegantly attired in a red riding habit. The Bantam version has her running away from the hero with the crowd watching a balloon ascension. Note the difference in dress from the regency lines that were Grecian to her full day dress, which is more Victorian in style and design. Her hairstyle is also Victorian with the top knot and sausage curls!


This book is set in 1838 and horse racing and breeding was a popular sport for the very wealthy. Matches were held at Newmarket and attracted all sorts of people because gambling was allowed. Owners studied the breeding of horses to create a fast racer and modern horse racing is still a popular sport.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Fragrant Flower



The Fragrant Flower is #35 in the Bantam series and was published in March 1976. This is an interesting story that takes place in Hong Kong!
Azalea's evil guardians treat her as a servant and when she falls in love with Lord Sheldon, who is destined for one of her twin cousins, the twists and turns of this creative tale become apparent! As far as I know, this is the only book Cartland set in Hong Kong which would have been under British control in the 1880's. In 1999, it was returned to Chinese rule.

Francis Marshall paints 2 beautiful covers for this book! The Bantam one has Azalea in a gold Chinese outfit while she's in pink on the Pan cover. Both are gorgeous and emphasis her eastern blood! Note the junk on the water behind the couple on the Bantam cover while the Pan cover has our couple in an oriental garden setting. What is interesting is that you can see Francis Marshall's initials at the bottom of both covers!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Frame of Dreams


A Frame of Dreams is #34 in the Bantam series and was published in March 1976. It is a story about artist named Vanessa who painted miniatures. Miniatures were small "head shot" portraits that were popular before the camera was invented. Only someone very skilled could paint on such a small surface. The Marquis of Ruckford helps Vanessa and decides to make her his mistress. What happens when she refuses and the truth of her family situation become known is the plot of this interesting romance.

Francis Marshall paints very different pictures for this cover. The Bantam one emphasizes Vanessa as an artist, with her canvasses, paintbrushes, and supplies visible. She wears a pretty pink dress which is trimmed in forest green. The Pan cover has our couple at a balloon launch, probably in one of London's parks. It's interesting that this cover was used since it doesn't emphasis Vanessa's artistic abilities.

Women usually dabbled in watercolors, but few were trained artists in the early 1800's. One of my favorites, Angelica Kauffmann, was an original member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in England. I am lucky to have seen one of her works in the town that I live!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Kiss for the King


A Kiss for the King is #33 in the Bantam series and was published February 1976. It is a story about Anastasia, who is a princess and is ordered by Queen Victoria to marry Maximilian of Maurona in order to protect his country from a French invasion. I like that Barbara Cartland created European countries to send her British heroines to rule over!! An interesting fact is that she was the "step-grandmother" to Princess Diana, as her daughter, Raine, married Diana's father, the Earl Spencer, after his divorce.

Francis Marshall paints 2 different poses for this cover. The Bantam one has our heroine in riding habit while the king is dressed in a uniform. The Pan cover has her in a ballgown that is bright yellow trimmed with blue. Note the Eastern architecture of the castle!

Queen Victoria really did marry off her royal relatives to secure the countries of Europe and to have some say over them! Many countries were concerned about a Russian or French invasion. Even the German states were restless during this time of the 1850's.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Gamble with Hearts


A Gamble with Hearts is #32 in the Bantam series. It was published in February 1976. Francis Marshall painted two similar illustrations with our couple at a casino. The heroine wears a lovely while dress trimmed in blue. Her dress has a crinoline, a bell shaped hoop that makes it sway.

Selina is rescued by Quintus Tiverton, a gambler living on his wits. Set in Baden-Baden in the 1860's, this is a story of the rich and famous in Europe and how they lived!

Francis Marshall had quite a talent. The heroine looks way too young to be in a gambling establishment and his sketches of the other characters around the table show a scene of merriment that may or may not last, depending on their wins! The hero seems to be keeping a watchful eye on the heroine. I like that the Pan cover has her in profile while the Bantam cover shows her looking towards us.

Monday, June 8, 2009

An Arrow of Love


An Arrow of Love is #31 in the Bantam series and was published in January 1976. Barbara Cartland writes a story about Melissa, who, in order to escape her stepmother and determined suitor, acts as a lady's maid to her friend Cheryl. What happens after she is found out by Cheryl's guardian, The Duke of Aldwick, is the plot of this book set in 1820 during regency times.

During this time, women had few rights, so if Melissa was underage, she would be under the protection of a guardian or parent. Unfortunately, death made some people unworthy guardians and some neglected their duties.

Francis Marshall paints 2 similar covers of the same scene. The Bantam one has the hero confronting the heroine as she's come in from the outside while the Pan version has her sitting with her bonnet and shawl cast aside. Our hero is dressed as a regency dandy, though he wears slippers instead of boots in the Bantam cover. Both are very beautiful covers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Frie on the Snow


Fire on the Snow is #30 in the Bantam series and was published in January 1976. This was at the height of Barbara Cartland's popularity, when she was publishing 2 or more books a month!

This book is about Alida, who travels to Russia with her cousin, Lady Mary, who is to marry Prince Voronski. Alida is treated as a servant, and not as a relative of the house. Lady Mary meets another young man on the boat over and how Alida falls for the prince makes for a great love story!

Francis Marshall paints 2 very different covers for this book. In the Bantam edition, our heroine dances with the prince. She wears a beautiful gown made for her by the palace seamstress and is decorated with star orchids. The Arrow cover has our couple riding in a sled in an outdoors snowy scene. It is very opulent and they are dressed in fantastic furs. Only the wealthy traveled by horse and sled in Russia!

Russia in the 1850's was a place of great beauty and great cruelty. Serfs were still slaves and the secret police spied on everyone. It makes for an interesting setting of a book. I always wondered what Barbara Cartland would think of Russia nowadays. She would have known it as mainly a closed Communist country. She set a few of her novels in Russia and I wonder if she ever had the chance to visit.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Mask of Love


The Mask of Love is #29 in the Bantam series and was published in December 1975. Francis Marshall paints 2 similar covers for this book, which takes place in Venice during Carnival. The Marquis of Melford is visiting Venice on a secret mission for the Prime Minister while he meets Caterina, an English girl who is homesick. What happens after he leaves Venice and finds her as a stowaway is the plot of this story!!

These covers are interesting because Francis Marshall gives us a feel of the city with the canals, boats, bridges, and the townspeople dressed up! The hero wears a mask with his formal wear, but our heroine wears a long cloak over her white ball dress with a red mask and black tricorn hat! Masks are an important and popular part of carnival and mask making shops were prominent, while the makers had their own laws and guild, according to Wikipedia.

Carnival was popular from the 1200's until the 1800's when Austria took over Venice. It declined into the 1900's until the revival of a mask shop in the 1980's invigorated it again!

Some of the popularity of Cartland's books are the fact that they were plotted in different places around the world. You could "travel" without ever leaving your house! She was a stickler for history and correct facts and herself traveled to most of these locales to make sure to write a correct book.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cruel Count


The Cruel Count is #28 in the Bantam series and was published in December 1975. It is the story of Lady Vesta, who arrives in the fictional country of Katona to marry their prince. Unfortunately, revolution has broken out and she is met at the ship by Count Miklos. Instead of turning back, she commands the Count to take her to the Prince. What happens next is exciting and unusual!

Francis Marshall paints 2 similar covers with our couple resting at a waterfall and eating berries. On the Bantam cover, the waterfall is on the right and not as prominent as in the Pan version. The couple wear riding dress as they travel and we get the impression that this is a hard journey.

This book is set in 1819 and Europe was trying to settle tempers and issues that had heated people since the Napoleonic wars. Other countries were trying to grab land and power. Great Britain was influential in solving these diplomatic matters and later, when Queen Victoria was on the throne, she put many of her relatives on the thrones of Europe as a safeguard to further political problems.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Say Yes, Samantha


Say Yes, Samantha is #27 in the Bantam series and was published in November 1975. Pan published the UK edition.

This is an interesting story about Samantha and her life in London during the 1920's. How she finds love with David, a famous author, while other men pursue her is the plot of this book.

I've always enjoyed this story because this would have been the world that Barbara Cartland lived! She was wined and dined and knew what it was like to have men in love and proposing all of the time!

Francis Marshall paints 2 very similar illustrations for this book. Note the same green auto, Samantha's daring yellow evening dress, and our hero's black formal wear. He seems to be asking her something important as they depart the vehicle. The Bantam cover has a park or square in the background, but the Pan version has a building, maybe where Samantha lived? A beautiful story with very beautiful covers!

Jeeves and Wooster is an interesting show that is set during this time period. I like all of his young friends that are falling in love with different women! Watching this give one a feel of the 1920's and 30's.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love is Innocent


Love is Innocent is #26 in the Bantam series and was published in November 1975. Francis Marshall paints 2 interesting covers for this story. In the Bantam cover, our couple is in a boat on the sea. Note the wicker deck chairs and other ships in the water. Our heroine wears a beautiful blue gown with slit sleeves. The Arrow version shows our couple in an embrace by the sea.

The Duke of Atherstone leaves England for North Africa in 1887 after excitement and in Algiers, is taken to a slave market, where he rescues Selina, an English girl. They escape to Monte Carlo and fall in love, Cartland style!

Traffic of young European girls to North Africa was common in the 19th century. Many countries had this problem of kidnapping and worked hard to solve this crime. Girls answering ads were lured or captured and kept drugged until they became inmates in brothels. Many never escaped.

Monte Carlo is still a travel destination that people flock to every year. The area in Monaco is very beautiful and well known as a destination for the rich and famous. It is well known for its casinos and gambling. It lies near the French and Italian borders on the Mediterranean Sea.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

As Eagles Fly


As Eagles Fly is #25 in the Bantam series and was published in October 1975. Francis Marshall illustrates 2 similar covers for this story. Both have our couple in the mountains with troops around them and our heroine holding a knife. In both covers, she is dressed in Turkish garb. Both pictures are very beautiful!

Natasha's brother is being held hostage by Moslem rebels. In order to free him, she will give herself to the Sultan of Turkey. Lord Athelstan, already on a diplomatic mission, is asked to bring her to Turkey, but he refuses. Natasha sees this as a way to escape and disguises herself in order to join Lord Athelstan unawares. How they save her brother and fall in love is the plot of this love story by Barbara Cartland!

During the 1850's there was a lot of unrest in the Caucasian Mountains and much fighting between some of the Russian states and middle eastern countries. A kidnapping like this would not have been uncommon and it was known that white slavers captured European women to sell in the slave bazaars of the Middle East during this time period.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Devil in Love


The Devil in Love is #24 in the Bantam series and was published in October 1975. Francis Marshall paints 2 very different pictures for this book. The Bantam one shows our couple at a railway station. Note the travelling dress of the heroine. It looks like our hero is trying to stop her from leaving. By the 1890's, train travel was a usual form of transportation in England. Many places were linked by the railway and some estates had "halts" where people could be let off to visit these large houses!
The Corgi cover shows the couple at a restaurant, but is intriguing since she is dressed in riding habit; not appropriate for dining. The restaurant doesn't look very classy, either!

Larisa's family is bereft after the death of her father and she takes a post as governess in France to help out with finances. Here she meets her pupil and his father, Raoul de Valmont.

Many upper class homes had governesses to teach their young children, usually girls. Boys went to school at age 7 or 8, but girls were usually educated at home. Being a governess was one of the few options to work for an educated woman at that time. This book is set in the 1890's and my own grandmother served as a governess in England in the late 1910's!