Pam Rosenthal is a Brooklyn-born author of erotic historical romance novels. Under the pseudonym Molly Weatherfield, she has written erotic novels in the BDSM genre ("bondage, domination and sadomasochism").
She and her husband Michael Rosenthal were part owners of the Modern Times bookstore in San Francisco. Their son Jesse Rosenthal is an assistant professor of English at Johns Hopkins University.
Rosenthal's first Weatherfield novel Carrie's Story made number 12 on Playboy.com's list of the 25 Sexiest Novels Ever Written. The novel has gone through sixteen printings since its publication in 1995. Carrie's Story and its sequel Safe Word are influenced by the erotic classic Story of O.
Historical romance novels
Romance readers find Rosenthal's contributions both fulfill and transcend their genre. While satisfying the requirements of the form in full, Rosenthal's work also exhibits some features typical of literary novels but infrequently found in genre romance. Her approximately "Regency-set" historical romances are unusual in the genre for their (relatively) unvarnished depiction of the period and its inequalities, violence and physical hardships. Themes are developed in a symbolic dimension, though not so substantially as to distract from the dominant obligations to storytelling. The generically necessary softening of depiction of the life of servants and the working class generally is moderated and presented with a certain awareness of the elitism of the genre's formulae, her secondary but richly drawn labouring class characters limning the reality of ordinary lives that cannot be presented without fatally overshadowing the core romance.
As critic and essayist
Rosenthal has reviewed literary biography and fiction for Salon and other newspapers and magazines. Like Jennifer Crusie, she takes a scholarly as well as an artisan's interest in her own genre of production as well. In 2010 Rosenthal participated in an academic conference held in Brussels by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance,. Diverging from much of the current academic and scholarly production on romance, her critical work as a theorist and scholar of the form is done less in the service of vindicating the genre and its values (a project furthered in recent years by, among others, Crusie, Jayne Ann Krentz, Mary Bly, Pamela Regis, Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell) than as formal inquiry, based in both her own experience with genre convention and the hermeneutic practices of Queer Theory adapted to the cultural studies tradition usually traced to Raymond Williams.
As Molly Weatherfield:
- Carrie's Story 1995
- Safe Word 1998
As Pam Rosenthal:
- Almost a Gentleman 2003
- The Bookseller's Daughter 2004
- The Slightest Provocation 2006
- The Edge of Impropriety 2008
- Playboy: The 25 Sexiest Novels Ever Written http://www.playboy.com/sex/features/25novels/
- Authors Website featuring links to reviews in Salon, SFGate and others http://pamrosenthal.com/essays.htm
- International Association for the Study of Popular Romance http://iaspr.org/conferences/belgium/
- Jayne Ann Kretnz, ed. Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance (New Cultural Studies) University of Pennsylvania Press (September 1, 1992)
- Cf. Krentz, Bowling Green State U. Conference on Genre Romance 2000 http://www.krentz-quick.com/bgspeech.html
- Pamela Regis, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, University of Pennsylvania Press (April 26, 2007)
- Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, Beyond Heaving Bosoms Fireside; (April 14, 2009), Cf. http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/