During the whirlwind of scandals and hubbub last week, a prominent personality in the book world passed away with little fan-fare or falderal.
Janet Dailey, one of the most recognizable names in the romance novel industry, passed away at her home in Branson, Missouri at the age of 69. Apparently, from the few reports I've read, the cause of her death was unknown, but she had been in ill health for a while.
I cut my "romance reading" teeth on Janet Dailey's novels as a teenager, acquiring many of them from my older (but wiser!) cousins Beverly, Martha and Elaine. I've tried to remember which one of Dailey's books was my first, I think it was "Sweet Promise," which came out in 1976 - and after that first book, I was hooked.
I went on to read many of Dailey's books, spending one summer when my husband and I lived in Colorado collecting and devouring her Americana series (romances set in each of the 50 states!). My mother-in-law Nell and I shared those books and we each enjoyed every one of them - I still have them packed away somewhere in our possessions.
But as my children came along, time for reading wasn't as easy to carve out, and I let my passion for romances fall by the wayside as I dove into children's books with my boys. I would return to romances eventually, but for some reason, I never read any more of Janet Dailey's work - until recently.
I was sent a copy of Dailey's Christmas offering this year, "Merry Christmas, Cowboy" and reviewed it quite recently as a part of my annual holiday reading reviews - little did I know it would be the last book of Janet Dailey that I would review as she passed away last week.
For a girl from Storm Lake, Iowa, Janet Dailey accomplished so much in her lifetime. With nearly 100 books to her credit, Dailey is said to have sold over 300 million books in her lifetime, and had her books translated into nineteen languages as well.
It is with a sad heart that the romance world says good-bye to one of their own. She wasn't perfect, by no means, but she could spin a story filled with love, desire, adventure and fun like no other.
You will be missed, Janet Dailey. Rest in Peace.