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May 1, 2000

Best-selling novel dedicated to UCSC librarian

By Barbara McKenna

Although well known in the local community, UCSC librarian Margaret Gordon never had to deal with widespread fame until recently. Now Gordon's name is known to just about every romance novel fan in the country, thanks to a dedication in a New York Times best-seller.

Margaret Gordon, with the novel that was dedicated in her honor. Photo: Barbara McKenna
The book, The Wicked Widow, is authored by UCSC alumna and best-selling romance novelist Jayne Ann Krentz. The dedication reads, "For Margaret Gordon, a librarian's librarian at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with thanks." The book was authored by Amanda Quick, one of Krentz's many pen names.

Krentz's thanks are for Gordon's research on the historical setting of the book. "Jayne is a former librarian and she's very meticulous about creating an accurate setting for her historical romances," Gordon says. Gordon provided Krentz with information on the Vauxhall Gardens--the pleasure gardens of 18th-century Regency England--and the young dandies, known as "macaronis," who used to frequent the gardens.

Krentz has maintained a relationship with the university since graduating in 1970 from Stevenson College with a B.A. in history. She and Gordon have been in regular contact for a number of years and, in 1997, Krentz and her husband, Frank, established the Castle Humanities Endowment to support the acquisition of books in humanities-related subjects, a fund which they supplement each year. Krentz also returned to UCSC in 1996 to speak on romance novels as a literary genre (Krentz is the author of an award-winning critical volume, Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance).

The Wicked Widow was # 11 on the New York Times best-seller list for the week of April 24 and was written up that same week in People magazine. But, apparently, this is only the beginning. "If you think there are a lot of books out with your name on it now, just wait until the paperback rollover hits this time next spring," Krentz told Gordon. "There will be over a million copies in print in the paperback version. You'll be in every airport terminal in the country."

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