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Rare Lucilla Andrews Medical Romances – Worth Seeking Out?
Are you fond of reading the odd vintage romance? They can be a little hard to locate these days, but it's not that uncommon a taste. When it comes to romance novels, we don't all go for the super-romance extra-hot vindaloo style love story – some of us like our heroines demure and mild-mannered, and our heros circumspect in their approaches (while clearly smouldering with barely repressed passion.)
One of my favourite sub-genres when it comes to vintage romance is the real old traditional hospital, medical doctor-nurse romance. Oh, sure, they still write 'em: but they don't write 'em like they used to! And, for my money, the absolute greatest of all the fifties/sixties/seventies hospital romance writers is Lucilla Andrews. The name may be familiar: as romance authors go, she's kind of a respected (and notorious) figure, partly due to her excellent non-fiction memoir 'No Time For Romance'.
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Great Romance Novels Falling Out of Print
Apart from her really quite famous memoir, most of the Lucilla Andrews body of work is now out of print. Which is a bit of a shame if you ask me: I'm not going to stand and defend all of it as great art, but certainly there's the odd gem such as her first published novel, 'The Print Petticoat', a tough and unsentimental look at the life of a fifties nurse, that can only be described as a romance by a very loose use of terminology. Others amongst her oeuvre might not be great novels, but they're certainly great fun if you take them for what they are, and I think there's a place in this world for straight-ahead daffy, laugh-strewn romance novels.
Doctor Nurse Romance Links
- Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Buy Nursing Romance Novels On Amazon
Can Vintage Romance Paperbacks Be Valuable?
But this does mean that it's often worth grabbing a copy of one of her novels should you come across it, even if you already have a copy. Just check out the prices her work can currently command via the Amazon website – you might be surprised! The condition of vintage second-hand books can obviously be highly variable, but even the cheapest of her out-of-print works tend to command prices that make them worth grabbing if you spot them at any church fayre or jumble sale. That applies to her officially recognised body of work, i.e. the list of her novels you can find on the Wikipedia page devoted to her literary output. But is that the last word on the romance novel output of Lucilla Andrews? I think not.
I have been keeping a sharp eye out for many years now, and have acquired a couple of novels by Andrews that do not feature on any official list, i.e. 'The White Walls' and 'The Silver Lamp'. These kind of books tend to be published by weekly women's magazines in collected and sometimes abridged versions, after having been serialized in the magazine over a period of time. Not having had an 'official' publication by an actual publishing house, they do not feature on official lists of an author's output, as we see in the case of Lucilla Andrews.
However, even the 'official' list can contain some surprises, and items sufficiently obscure to render them a challenge to track down for even the most devoted fan. In the case of Andrews, the inclusion of 'The Wife of the Red-haired Man' in lists of her published works is an irritant to devotees who formerly believed themselves familiar with Andrews' entire output. For those who own numerous Lucilla Andrews novels under the Corgi imprint, they will know that this novel appears nowhere in the lists of Andrews' books issued by that publisher! Where the heck did it spring from, and is it just a chimaera of someone's inventive and mischievous imagination?
Whatever may be the case, I'm sure that we select cadre of Andrews fans will continue to enjoy her body of work far into the future – and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more of her lesser-known books – especially 'The Wife of the Red-Haired Man'!
Photo credit: SarahMcD