Santa Montefiore

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Santa Montefiore
Santa Montefiore.jpg
Montefiore in 2013
Born Santa Palmer-Tomkinson
(1970-02-02) 2 February 1970 (age 47)
Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Residence London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Education Hanford School
Sherborne School for Girls
Alma mater Exeter University
Occupation Author
Spouse(s) Simon Sebag Montefiore
Children 2
Parent(s) Charles Palmer-Tomkinson
Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson
Relatives Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (sister)

Santa Montefiore (née Palmer-Tomkinson; born 2 February 1970) is a British author.

Early life[edit]

Santa Montefiore was born Santa Palmer-Tomkinson on 2 February 1970 in Winchester. Her parents are Charles Palmer-Tomkinson, formerly High Sheriff of Hampshire,[1] and Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson (née Dawson), of Anglo-Argentine background. Her father, and other members of her family, represented Great Britain in skiing at Olympic level. The Palmer-Tomkinson family are substantial land-owners in Leicestershire.[2]

She had a sister, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, known as a "socialite"[2][3] and charity patron.[4]

Santa Montefiore said that growing up on the family farm gave her an "idyllic Swallows and Amazons childhood".[5] She also describes her upbringing as "sheltered, Sloaney".[6] She was educated at the Hanford School from the age of eight to twelve.[7] She then attended Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset, where, in the sixth form, she became Head of her house (a role of responsibility similar to a prefect).[6]

Career[edit]

Prior to publishing any novels, she worked in London, first in public relations for the outfitters Swaine Adeney and later for the jeweller Theo Fennell. She also worked as a shop assistant in Farmacia Santa Maria Novella, the perfumery, and in events for Ralph Lauren.[6]

She sent her first manuscript to several literary agents, using a nom de plume in order to distance herself from her sister. Only one agent, Jo Franks of A P Watt, expressed an interest, but this led to a bidding war between several publishers, with Hodder & Stoughton giving her a six-figure advance.[6] Montefiore has published at least one novel a year since 2002. Four of her books are set in Argentina, where she spent 1989 as a gap year teaching English.[5][6] Her books have been characterised as "beach-read blockbusters", selling over four million copies in 20 translations.[8]

She counts as her literary influences The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Mary Wesley, Eckhart Tolle, and Daphne du Maurier.[5] Isabel Allende is important to her too.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Montefiore is married to writer and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore. They were brought together by the historian Andrew Roberts, who thought "they would be absolutely perfect for each other because they were the only two people he knew who could remember the words to Evita off by heart".[6] She says of their marriage:[5]

Sebag and I do bring out the best in each other. I wouldn’t have written if not for him and he might not have written books either, as he was a ladies’ man, always chasing girls, but now his home life is stable and sorted. We write in the same house, in separate offices and he helps me with plots. I think you have to be a team. Laughter is everything. Mr Darcy would have been so boring to live with – you don’t want to live with someone who is smouldering all the time.

The couple are friends with the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who attended their wedding.[6] Santa Montefiore is a friend of Tiggy Legge-Bourke [6] and of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.[10]

She converted to Judaism before the marriage.[9] The wedding was held at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, with which her husband's family has been associated for generations.

The Montefiores have two children, Lily and Sasha.

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 53618". The London Gazette. 18 Mar 1994. p. 4244. 
  2. ^ a b "It girl Tara cuts ribbon at £4.8m sixth-form". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  3. ^ Walker, Andrew (30 August 2002). "BBC News "Tara Palmer-Tomkinson: Still got It?"". 
  4. ^ "It-girl Tara backs autism charity". The Herald Scotland. 2 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Siobhan Kane (3 August 2013). "Connemara's gift to Santa". Irish Times. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Christa D'Souza (24 February 2001). ""The lit girl"". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Her early childhood and Her years at school". Biography. Santa Montefiore. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Writes of Passage". The Scotsman. 3 November 2007
  9. ^ a b c "The World According To... Santa Montefiore". The Independent. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2016. As a child, I hated it and wanted to be called Jane. I got sick of the jokes. But I now enjoy the fact that nobody else has it. I'm named after a crop of barley that my father produced called "senter", and my mother compromised with Santa, with means "saint" in Spanish. 
  10. ^ The Spectator column by Simon Sebag Montefiore, 9 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 9. "I was lucky enough to be invited, with thousands of others, to the wedding, because my wife, Santa, was friends with Maxima long ago...."