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Memorial Statement for Elizabeth Thornton by Wendy McCurdy

R.I.P Mary George, aka Elizabeth Thornton, beloved author and friend

I've had the privilege of working with Mary for 24 years. I was the editor of her first and last books, and most of the ones in between. We first worked together at what was then called Zebra Books, where I actually did find her first manuscript in the slush pile. That would be A Bluestocking Bride, published in 1987. Subsequently we worked together at Bantam and most recently at Berkley. Authors and editors lose each other all the time in this challenging industry, but Mary and I always managed to find each other.

Elizabeth ThorntonMary has always been an editor's dream. First of all, there was the wonderful humor and intelligence of her writing. Second, there was that storytelling magic that she had, a kind of chemistry that she knew how to create between her characters, and especially between her hero and heroine. Third, she was a pleasure to work with. She wrote one book a year without fail for 24 years, and handled her edits with great skill and good humor.

Not only was she a pleasure to work with, she was a pleasure to be around. Anyone who ever had any dealings with her felt the warmth and charm of her personality. Meeting with her was always one of the highlights of any conference that we both attended. She and I shared some long phone chats throughout the years, and together we've been through many ups and downs, both personally and professionally.

I am very proud of our long association, and sad that she couldn't be with us a little while longer. Mary brought a lot of joy into a lot of people's lives through her novels and also through her strength of character. She was a gracious, lovely, generous person who just happened to write some of the best historical romances ever written.

Wendy McCurdy
Executive Editor
Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. meoskop
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 09:25:04

    There should be a rule that only bad authors (or rather authors I don’t enjoy) can die. This is sad news, but a beautiful statement from Wendy McCurdy.

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  3. Gina Bernal
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 10:17:01

    What a lovely tribute, Wendy. My condolences on your loss of not just an author but a friend.

  4. alisha
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 11:18:56

    I really enjoyed her books. I just finished a mini marathon of reading several older books I had found. I recieved an email from her on the 28th of June, with the Epilogue I had requeste for a book of hers I read. If her last book in recently trilogy was finished which website said was due out in Nov. I think everyone should go out and buy it in her memory.

  5. Susan/DC
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 11:27:15

    Elizabeth Thornton was one of the first romance authors I discovered when I began reading in the genre about 10 years ago. I liked some of her books more than others, but she could always be counted on for the quality of the writing itself. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Would that we all deserved such a lovely eulogy.

  6. joanna bourne
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 15:20:59

    I guess I’ve read everything she ever wrote. You Only Love Twice is one of the great Suspense/Romance books. Absolutely classic. The Scot and I . . . just wonderful. She could show depth of character so simply.

    The world is diminished because she’s left it.

  7. Janine
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 17:28:24

    What a beautiful remembrance. It and the comments make me feel that I’ve been missing out on excellent books. My thoughts are with this author’s loved ones.

  8. pjpuppymom
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 18:31:44

    My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. She was an author whose books I’ve enjoyed.

  9. Wendy McCurdy
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 20:51:54

    Thanks to all for the kind comments. I’m sure Mary’s family will appreciate them too.

  10. EC Sheedy
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 01:47:35

    I never met Elizabeth Thornton personally, but we did exchange emails a few years ago. At that time she gave me some very wise writer-to-writer advice; advice I badly needed to hear–but, unfortunately, was too dumb to heed.

    Thank you, Elizabeth. You were supportive, kind, and immensely talented. RIP

  11. denise petrey
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 06:06:25

    How beautiful to give such words of praise and appreciation for a friend. In the end, the greatest joy in life is the connections we make, allowing ourselves to come together based on our similarities, yet enjoying each other’s uniqueness. Were that we could do that worldwide. My deepest gratitude to Elizabeth for her contributions, and to you, Wendy, for expressing such appreciation for a friend and co-worker.

  12. Likari
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 12:53:31

    What a lovely remembrance. Thank you to both Ms. McCurdy and Dear Author for posting this.

  13. Forbes George
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 06:41:02

    @Wendy McCurdy:

    On behalf of the family, I thank you, Wendy, for posting this tribute to Mary. She was always very proud and honoured to be in such a long-standing, close relationship with you, both professional and personal. An excerpt from your tribute was read at her memorial service.

    Again, thank you!

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