Jo Beverley

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Jo Beverley
Jo Beverley.jpg
Jo Beverley at the Romance Writer's of America Literacy signing, 22 July 2015, New York, NY
Born Mary Josephine Dunn
(1947-09-22)22 September 1947
Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
Died 23 May 2016(2016-05-23) (aged 68)
England, UK
Pen name Jo Beverley
Occupation Novelist
Language English language
Nationality British
Citizenship Canada
Period 1988–2016
Genre historical Romance, contemporary Romance
Spouse Ken Beverley
Children 2

Mary Josephine "Jo" Beverley (née Dunn; 22 September 1947 – 23 May 2016) was a prolific English-Canadian writer of historical and contemporary romance novels from 1988 to 2016.[1]

Her works are regarded[by whom?] as well researched, filled with historical details, and peopled by communities of interlinked characters, stretching the boundaries of the historical romantic fiction genre. They have been translated into several languages, and she has received multiple awards.


Early life and education[edit]

Mary Josephine Dunn was born 22 September 1947 in Lancashire, England. She was of Irish descent.[2]

At age 11, she went to an all-girls boarding school, Layton Hill Convent, Blackpool. At 16, she wrote her first romance, with a medieval setting, completed in instalments in an exercise book. She read history and American studies at Keele University in Staffordshire from 1966 to 1970[citation needed], where she earned a degree in English history.[3] The broad-based learning of Keele's foundation year and the availability of archived Regency-period newspapers were useful resources to enable her to develop her fiction writing.[citation needed]

On 24 June 1971, she married Ken Beverley, whom she met at Keele.[citation needed]


After graduation, she quickly attained a position as a youth employment officer. She stayed in this profession until 1976, working first in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, and then in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.

In 1976, Beverley moved to Canada, where her scientist husband was invited to do post-doctoral research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When her professional qualifications proved unusable in the Canadian labour market, Beverley decided to develop her early interest in creative writing.[citation needed]

Many of her "Rogue" characters were created in an initial manuscript entitled A Regency Rape. At this point, Beverley did not have a fixed idea of the narrower literary boundaries drawn by the traditional Regency romantic novel and thus created a literary hybrid. A precursor of the Regency historical novel, the work had a more varied cast of characters which, while respectful of the world of Georgette Heyer, broadened the scope and intensity of the genre. At this time Beverley was still unpublished, but devoted her time to caring for her two young sons and participating in the woman-centred childbirth movement, which made her especially careful to portray births in her novels realistically but positively.[citation needed]

The turning point in Beverley's writing career came when her move to Montreal led to her attendance at a talk on "The state of romance in fiction" by Janet Adams, at Beaconsfield Library on 23 May 1984. The executive advisor of the Writers' Association for Romance and Mainstream demystified the creative process for the budding author and was sufficiently impressed by Beverley's writing to act as her agent.[citation needed]

That same year, the family moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where Beverley became a founding member of the Ottawa Romance Writers' Association (ORWA). Formed in 1985, ORWA became her "nurturing community" for the next 12 years.[citation needed]

In 1988, Beverley, who was actively writing science fiction as well as romance, was a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. That same year, she sold her first romance novel. With her ensuing success in the latter genre, she allowed speculative writing to slide, though elements of it appear periodically in some of her romances and novellas.[citation needed]

Beverly wrote at multiple blogs:

  • Jo Talk, a solo blog where "she post[ed] anything that interest[ed] her"[4]
  • Minepast, a solo blog where "she share[d] interesting tid-bits of history she discover[ed] as she researche[d] her novels"[5]
  • the UK Historical Romance blog[6]
  • Word Wenches,[7] a group blog comprising posts by eight women "historical authors who blog about history, writing, and anything vaguely related"[8]

Personal life[edit]

Soon after university, Beverley and her husband Ken moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Beverley became a Canadian with dual citizenship, and she and Ken raised their two sons there, then moved to Victoria, British Columbia.[9]

More recently, she and Ken moved back to England[when?], and they lived in Dawlish, Devon.,[10] though they were considering returning to Victoria permanently.[11]

Later life and death[edit]

In 2012, Beverley survived a bout with cancer and, for the past four years, was in remission. However, the cancer returned and moved very quickly. Beverley succumbed to it on 23 May 2016. She died in a care home in Yorkshire, England that once was a convent, with her husband and her pal Charlie, "the Cabbage Patch Kid", by her side.[12][13]


Her works have been translated into many languages and have won her many awards, including five RITAs, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times, The Golden Leaf Award, and the Readers' Choice Award. A member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Honor Roll, Beverley is the sole Canadian romance author inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame.



Traditional Regencies[edit]

Company of Rogues Series[edit]

In the Rogues' world:

Medieval Romances[edit]

The Malloren Series[edit]

The Georges Series[edit]

(related to the Company of Rogues)

Novellas and short stories[edit]

  • "The Fruit Picker". Writers of the Future. IV. 1988. ISBN 0-88404-314-2. 
  • "If Fancy Be the Food of Love". A Regency Valentine. 1991. ISBN 0-449-22081-8. 
    • "If Fancy Be the Food of Love". Regency Valentines. 2015. ASIN B00T3P4PHW. 
  • "Twelfth Night". Five Golden Rings. 1991. ISBN 0-8217-7062-4. 
  • "Lord Samhain's Night". All Hallow's Eve. 1992. ISBN 0-8027-1252-5. 
  • "The Demon's Bride". Moonlight Lovers. 1993. ISBN 0-451-17722-3. 
  • "A Mummer's Play". A Regency Christmas. 1995. ISBN 978-0-451-18014-8. 
  • "Forbidden Affections". A Spring Bouquet. 1996. 
  • "The Determined Bride". Married at Midnight (Georgian). 1996. 
  • "A Gift of Light". The Christmas Cat. 1996. 
  • "The Lord of Elphindale". Faery Magic. 1998.  Reissue 2006.
  • "The Wise Virgin". The Brides of Christmas. 1999. ISBN 0-373-83417-9. 
  • "Day of Wrath". Star of Wonder. 1999. ISBN 0-515-12653-5. 
  • "The Demon's Mistress". In Praise of Younger Men. 2001. ISBN 0-451-20380-1. 
  • "The Trouble With Heroes". Irresistible Forces (Trade ed.). 2004.  MM 2006
  • "The Dragon and the Virgin Princess". Dragon Lovers. 2007. 
  • "The Raven and the Rose ...". Chalice of Roses. 2010. 
  • "The Marrying Maid". Songs of Love and Death. 2010. 

Single Novels[edit]


  1. ^ Janet (May 24, 2016). "Publishing News: Tuesday News: RIP Jo Beverley, copyright irony, Sherman Alexie, and comic book movies for grown-ups". Dear Author. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ Mary Jo (May 23, 2016). "In Memoriam: Jo Beverley". Word Wenches. 
  3. ^ "About the Author". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Jo Beverley -- Full Bio". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Jo Beverley -- Full Bio". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Jo Beverley -- Full Bio". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  7. ^ Mary Jo (May 23, 2016). "In Memoriam: Jo Beverley". Word Wenches. 
  8. ^ "Jo Beverley -- Full Bio". Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ Mary Jo (May 23, 2016). "In Memoriam: Jo Beverley". Word Wenches. 
  10. ^ "Jo Beverley's Biography". Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Mary Jo (May 23, 2016). "In Memoriam: Jo Beverley". Word Wenches. 
  12. ^ Janet (May 24, 2016). "Publishing News: Tuesday News: RIP Jo Beverley, copyright irony, Sherman Alexie, and comic book movies for grown-ups". Dear Author. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  13. ^ Mary Jo (May 23, 2016). "In Memoriam: Jo Beverley". Word Wenches. 
  14. ^ "Jo Beverley at Fantastic Fiction". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]