Dame Barbara Cartland was one of the most successful and well-known of all British romance novelists as well as one of the most prolific and commercially successful worldwide of the 20th century. She wrote 723 books in her long lifetime of which 675 are romantic novels and includes 160 manuscripts that are currently being published as the Barbara Cartland Pink Collection.
She also wrote plays, music, verse, drama, magazine articles, and operetta, and was a prominent philanthropist.
As Barbara Cartland, she is known for her numerous romantic novels but she also wrote under her married name of Barbara McCorquodale and briefly under the pseudonym of Marcus Belfry.
Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland was born into an upper-middle-class comfort family. She published her debut book, Jigsaw (1923), after a year of work as a gossip columnist for the Daily Express. The novel became a bestseller. Her first success inspired her to continue writing.
Barbara Cartland wrote in a variety of genres, but of course, she is most associated with romance, with her stories of chaste heroines, dashing heroes, and how everyone lives happily ever after in the end.
"I write about the wonderful glorious moment when men and women fall in love, which is a time in everyone’s life that can never be forgotten and is treasured forever," the novelist said.
Barbara Cartland wrote continuously throughout her long life, writing bestsellers for 76 years. Some of her notable works include A Hazard of Hearts (1949), The Wicked Marquis (1973), The impetuous duchess (1975), and The Duke and the Preacher's Daughter (1978). According to her official web, worldwide sales of over one billion books are translated into 38 different languages.
However, some of her works have been banned. For instance, the racy play Blood Money (1926) was banned by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Also, Cartland's guide to married life in the 1950s was banned in Ireland.
Dame Barbara Cartland led a fulfilling, sometimes extravagant life. She died peacefully at home at the age of 98, leaving a record-breaking body of romantic novels and a significant legacy in politics and alternative medicine.
In 2008 BBC Four aired a biopic drama film titled In Love with Barbara.