Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

 
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Philippa Carr. Victoria Holt.  Jean Plaidy.  Whatever novel you read with any of these names, they are the pseudonyms for the late British novelist Eleanor Hibbert.

Eleanor Hibbert (1906-93) was born in Kensington, outside of London.  She began her writing career by writing short stories for popular publications.  The literary editor at the “Daily Mail” suggested Hibbert to try writing romance instead of serious fiction.  Her first novel Daughter of Anna was published in 1941 and was a success.  Other novels followed with variations of her maiden name. As Hibbert’s writing career progressed, her three famous pseudonyms emerged: Jean Plaidy in 1945, Victoria Holt in 1960, and Philippa Carr in 1972. She also wrote three children’s novels and three history books. There are a few other lesser known pseudonyms as well. Writing occupied much of Hibbert’s time; she didn’t employ a secretary for answering fan mail.  She did take 2-3 month long cruises which provided inspiration for settings in her Victoria Holt novels. When Hibbert died in 1993, she had published over 200 novels.  For a full biography, here’s a reproduced 1993 article about her on this fan website.  Additionally, this fan website is a lovely one to visit.

Sir Thomas More

The first Jean Plaidy title I read was Meg Roper which is the story of St. Thomas More’s daughter. I came across the novel while browsing the fiction section in my high school library.  I knew a little bit about St. Thomas More but not about his family.  The novel gave me an introduction to his favorite daughter and the rest of the More family.  (Note: this novel is one of three books Hibbert wrote for young readers)

I rediscovered Jean Plaidy at the local independent bookstore in town where I attended college.  I never thought I’d see her novels in print and was thrilled to see a few of them on the shelf.  My first purchase was In the Shadow of the Crown, a fictionalized memoir of Mary I, first Queen Regnant of England.  Thus I began my own collection of Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels.

What I enjoy about Hibbert’s Jean Plaidy pseudonym is the beautiful and simple writing style and historical accuracy. From what I’ve seen of her reissued novels, the story may be a personal memoir or in the third person. Some of the novels have a brief historical introduction or an afterward, others don’t. I learn a lot from reading her novels along with the romance and drama. Unfortunately Hibbert’s writing quality declined towards the end of her writing career. Nevertheless I’ve enjoyed reading every novel.

Marie Antoinette

As for Victoria Holt, the only title I’ve read is The Queen’s Confession, a fictionalized personal memoir of Marie-Antoinette.  It’s a well-written story of the French Queen. The majority of Victoria Holt novels are original works however Hibbert wrote a few historical fiction novels with this pseudonym.  Four of her novels have been reissued so far.

I haven’t read anything under the Philippa Carr pseudonym.  Hibbert wrote about a fictional English family through the centuries with this name.  No reissues available so far.

I haven’t seen any new forthcoming Jean Plaidy reissues from the publisher this year.  Here’s a list of titles currently available.  I’ve listed them in historical chronology.  A few categories I made up for simplicity. Please note some titles have changed.  

To see Victoria Holt reissues, they follow immediately after the Jean Plaidy titles with their original publication dates.

Tudor Family and Court

To Hold the Crown (formerly titled Uneasy Lies the Head)

The Thistle and the Rose

Mary, Queen of France

Murder Most Royal

For a Queen’s Love (formerly titled The Spanish Bridegroom)

A Favorite of the Queen (formerly titled Gay Lord Robert)

Henry VIII

Henry VIII - The Ladies' Man

Henry VIII’s Wives

Katherine of Aragon (omnibus edition)

The Lady in the Tower

The Rose without a Thorn

The Sixth Wife

Mary, Queen of Scots

Royal Road to Fotheringhay

The Captive Queen of Scots

 Stuarts

The Murder in the Tower

The Loves of Charles II (omnibus edition)

The Three Crowns

Royal Sisters (formerly titled The Haunted Sisters)

Courting Her Highness (formerly titled The Queen’s Favorites)

Queens of England

The Courts of Love

The Queen’s Secret

The Reluctant Queen

In the Shadow of the Crown

Queen of this Realm

Loyal in Love (formerly titled Myself, My Enemy)

The Merry Monarch’s Wife (formerly titled The Pleasures of Love)

The Queen’s Devotion (formerly titled William’s Wife)

Victoria Victorious

Lucrezia Borgia

Madonna of the Seven Hills

Light on Lucrezia

*Also available in one volume as The Borgias

Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn (1960)

Bride of Pendorric (1963)

On the Night of the Seventh Moon (1972)

Lord of the Far Island (1975)

This concludes a three part installment on my favorite historical novelists. I hope you enjoyed reading and perhaps rediscovered a few old favorites.

 
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Sometimes a Catalog is Just a Catalog

Sometimes a Catalog is Just a Catalog :

 
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Question: What is the fundamental difference between e-commerce catalog websites such as - HomeDepot, Sears, Amazon, Target, and Walmart and online library catalogs using Horizon, SirsiDynix, Evergreen or III? 
 
Answer: Librarians don’t create HomeDepot, Sears, Amazon, Target, and Walmart catalogs (but they should).
 
Jobs

Working

One of my friends on Publib recently asked me if I thought there were employment opportunities for Librarians in e-commerce and what training would be needed to get a job. 

I think that is a good question to address here with all of the PubLib people.   I am a librarian and I have worked in e-commerce – web design, product development, training, data base management and SEO.  My former employment (after being a public library director) was as a corporate e-commerce manager. I redesigned a 6,000 product e-commerce website, created blogs and alternate websites for its products and within a year had moved it’s US rank in Alexa from about 60,000 up to around 7,000.  I took a year off to complete graduate studies in digital forensics (which I consider directly related to cybrarianship) and recently returned to e-commerce again to manage the databases and organic SEO for an international company with tens of thousands of products specializing in medical equipment and medical supplies.

 
Almost every college, University and technical school has some sort of a degree program now called something like New Media.  The New Media curriculum teaches things like web design, and SEO, and htm*, and programming languages, and social media construction – basically all of this stuff that makes up the web.   But, when all is said and done, what we create in e-commerce is a catalog – a catalog broken down into relevant, related categories with multiple access points and meaningful descriptions – so that the end-user can find what they want and we can get it to them efficiently.  There is a back-end tie to inventory, prices, features, descriptions, shipping, and various temporal factors.
 
traditional librarian

Traditional Librarian

How does that differ in concept from traditional library cataloging?  The argument could be made that traditional libraries do not charge their patrons and the cost / price feature of e-commerce products creates a completely different dynamic.  But, it really doesn’t.  Every professional librarian knows that nothing is free and although there is no direct charge to the patron finding a book in a catalog – the expenses are paid for up-front through Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (OH MY!).  Every library book has a tangible cost and there is a small markup that accounts for salaries paid to librarians.  The back-end is tied to inventory, prices, features, descriptions, shipping and various temporal factors.

 
The marketing dynamics of library catalogs and e-commerce catalogs may differ since there is no apparent immediacy to having a library catalog pay for itself.  E-commerce is result driven - the only reason to have a catalog is to facilitate sales and educate the consumer.  But, I believe the every librarian now sees how truly dynamic e-commerce web sites that sell books such as Amazon – by the very fact that they do need to see immediate results – have drastically outpaced the big Library catalogs.  So, although the marketing approach may differ, it really, really should not.
 
Soap Box

Soap Box

So, are there employment opportunities for librarians in e-commerce?  Obviously, there is for at least one.  The problem is Corporate America does not know what librarians can do for them. It has been left to me to explain to the company presidents I have  worked with that Libraries are, in fact,  sophisticated and dynamic inventory control systems – that work just like their supply chains.

Library Schools do not even know that they are training people to create catalogs for e-commerce.   But, they should and given the employment growth outlook for traditional librarianship, Library Schools should be touting the ability of their cataloguers to catalog, organize and describe everything.

 
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Palin’s Guides

And now  for something completely different:

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During this brief Labor Day break, I finished watching the series:  New Europe and Sahara featuring the iconic Monty Python actor - Michael Palin.  I am looking forward to watching his adventures Himalaya and Pole to Pole next.
 
The Pythonesque humor interweaved with a wonderful global perspective and a genuine empathy for the human condition offers an excellent counterbalance to the nationalistic drumbeat provided by mainstream news media coverage.  Palin humanizes the human condition. You feel that you have gotten the know the people he visits. Globe trekking to exotic locations has been curtailed by war, media coverage, and economic instability.  Yet, perhaps now more than ever we need to have a first-hand knowledge of those cultures.  Palin’s treks may represent the perfect virtual cultural bridge.
 
New Europe

New Europe

The New Europe series offers a trek through: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Eastern Germany. 

For many, many Americans the only understanding we have of New Europe is limited to our participation in wars in Bosnia.  The New Europe series provides important cultural insights about how everyday people go about their lives.

Sahara

Sahara Desert

The Sahara series begins and ends in Gibraltar, Spain with the journey taking place in: Morocco, Smara Refugee Camp (Algeria), Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali,  Niger, Algeria, Libya,  Tunisia. 

In the final episode of the Sahara series, Palin visits the site of his crucifixion in the Life of Brian the city of El Haddej in Tunisia.  

 
 
Every public library should offer the Michael Palin series and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
 

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