Thursday, January 7, 2010

Requiem for An Author

I did not know Kathleen Givens personally. I had read her wonderful ON A HIGHLAND SHORE last year and then in December, I finished her RIVALS FOR THE CROWN. I was so impressed with the detailed story-telling, I spotlighted this title on the Em Recommends page on my website. It went live on December 31st and I fully intended to send Kathleen an email through her website to let her know how much I'd enjoyed her work, but I wasn't quick enough.

Kathleen died in early January and, from everything I've seen on the internet, unexpectedly. It just goes to prove you should never put off telling someone something nice about themselves.

So even though I didn't ever meet Kathleen, I'd like to share what I do know about her based on her writing.

She had a lyrical soul. Her prose sang. Her characters were so sharply drawn they lived full rich lives between her pages and I suspect they are still having adventures on their own. They certainly live on for me.

She was devoted to getting the details right, a thorough historian. Her nuanced recreation of King Edward the Long-Shanks corrupt court was fascinating. She was the sort of storyteller who could climb inside her characters' heads and show you why they thought as they did, how they viewed the world and those around them. Her wonderful Jewish heroine Rachel de Anjou showed me medieval Scotland through fresh eyes.

She believed in honor and redemption and mercy. And in the power of love to mend all wrongs. I know because that's how her characters lived and died.

I'm very sorry I didn't tell her I saw all these things in her work when I had a chance. If you'd like to learn more about Kathleen Givens and her books, please visit and look for her titles at your local bookseller. She's worth getting to know.

Note: Kathleen's friend Sherri Browning Erwin asked me to share this--

You might let your readers know that her family is reading the tributes at The Whine Sisters (, a site she was a part of, and also at Kathleen's Facebook site, in case anyone wanted to leave a message for her family. Kathleen's passing was sudden and shocking, and we're all still reeling. Her family is very appreciative and touched by all the notes and emails they've seen.


Christie Craig said...

What a great message, Emily!!!

Thanks so much for sharing. I didn't know Kathleen either, but my heart goes out to her family. And may I say that she had left her words and story for all of us to enjoy.


Heather D said...

I just found out about this author. I have heard so many great things about Kathleen's books that I recently placed them on my wish list.

My heart goes out to her family and I will keep them in my prayers.

librarypat said...

Unfortunately, she is not an author I have read. I don't know how I missed her. After seeing the notice of her death on several sites, I visited her site and read excerpts from her books, plus an excerpt from a book that was due out this year. If I understood correctly, she was working on final revisions. From the excerpts, I got exactly the feelings you expressed. Sharply drawn characters, rich detail, and well written stories. I was drawn so completely into the story in such a short time. I will definitely be looking for her books.

Her loss is a large one for the historical romance family. It must be a crushing one for her family.

RRR said...

What a very sad story. Sincere thoughts and prayers to her family and fans. I have put her title on my to be purchased list also.

Thank you for reminding us Emily about living in the present precious moment!