Virginia Henley, née Virginia Syddall (b. December 5, 1935 in Bolton, England), is a British successful writer of historical-romance novels. She is well-known for her Medieval, Renaissance and other period piece romance novels.
Virginia Syddall was born in December 5, 1935 in Bolton, England, UK. Her father, Thomas Syddall, taught her to love history, she later on obtained a university degree in History.
Virginia has been married to Arthur Henley since 1956, and they had two sons. The marriage was installed in Toronto, Canada, where she was a housewife, who read "The Wolf and the Dove" by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and decided start to write. She sold her first novel The Irish Gypsy in 1982 to Avon Books.
She became a friend of other prominent writers such as Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Bertrice Small, Heather Graham Pozzessere, Kat Martin, Christina Skye, Marsha Canham and Susan Johnson.
Now, with her husband retired, they live the warm months in St. Petersburg, Florida (United States), and they spend summers in Ontario, Canada, where live their two children, and three grandsons.
Virginia Henley is the author of eighteen historical novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Seduced and Desired, as well as three novellas. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages.
Virginia Henley's novels are not typical 'bodice rippers' - attention is paid to many details such as historical events, which are integrated seamlessly into an otherwise fictional story. This attention to historical details is a hallmark of her novels. From the practices and traditions of the day, to the trends in fashion and down to the lives of prominent families in history - Henley combines them to create a rich background for her characters. Apart from the male and female protagonists, Henley's romance novels also contain colorful supporting characters, each with their own adventures and romances which at times even rival those of the main protagonists.
Henley has won several awards for her work - including the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award, Waldenbooks' Bestselling Award, Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers. She is also regularly praised and given rave reviews by Affaire de Coeur, Heartland Critiques, Rendezvous and USA Today.
Virginia Henley first published her books under Dell Publishing. From the 1980s to 1992, all her novels were published by Dell. In 1993, Island Books, a division of Dell Books, began publishing her works. There are marked differences between Henley's books published by Dell and those published by Island Books. The novels published by Dell had illustrated cover pages, with a plot synopsis on the back cover. The books published by Island had only her name and the novel's title over a background image of a particular flower with the illustration appearing on the second page.