Penny Jordan

Penny Jordan passed away from cancer at age 65 on 31 December 2011. She was the author of over 200 novels, and a name that many, many readers saw frequently on the covers of Harlequin Presents. Jordan's most recent book, Passion and the Prince, was just released at the end of December.

Jordan is more remembered, aside from authoring a metric ton of novels, for being a generous person who eagerly helped new authors navigate the path to publication.

The Romantic Novelists Association collected remembrances from its members, many of whom are grieving for the loss of a close friend. penny jordan

Lynne Connelly also wrote a very moving post about Jordan, and how much she'll be missed.

So, which Jordan novel would you recommend for someone curious about her books? It's an impromptu “Which one First?” though Jordan was on my list for this feature, as her backlist is very impressive. Which Jordan book do you recommend above all others? Please share your favorite and why. 

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  1. 1
    Bungluna says:

    I remember reading Ms. Jordan back in the day.  She wrote great angsty HPs with secret babies and big misunderstandings. I know I still have some in a box in the attic.  She will be sorely missed.

  2. 2
    BettyFokker says:

    I started reading Harlequin romances in the early 80’s … and I quickly learned the Penny Jordan ones would be good. I still remember some of them almost 30 years later, so they were clearly page turners. My sincere condolences to her friends and family.

  3. 3
    Nana says:

    I started reading HR also sometime in the early 80’s and my first was a Penny Jordan in German. Yep, and up to data I call it ‘clever Mom strategy’ to get me reacquainted with her native tongue. It was left, oh, so accidentally on a small coffee table. I grabbed it a Julia-Romane and started leafing through it. An hour later I was still at it. It was something with a girl running from home and returning on the death of mother?, father? not sure. I still remember the hero’s name was Marcus or along the lines. It was the first in a row of Julia-Romane by Penny Jordan…My heartfelt compassion and condolences for friends and family. I had just a similar event and know no words can heal the pain, but I truly feel sorry for them and pray for her and for them to have strength.

  4. 4
    Sharon M says:

    Oh, that’s so sad.  She was hands-down my favorite author all through my early to mid teen years when all the romances I had were the 80’s Harlequin Presents from my aunt’s collection.  I have such fond memories thanks to her and her books.

  5. 5
    Eileen says:

    I am a huge Penny Jordan fan and have almost all of her books.  I’m terrible at remembering titles but a few that I recall really liking a lot were Levelling the Score, Beyond Compare, and Yesterday’s Echoes.  Penny Jordan wrote a lot of stories where the H/h pretended to be engaged for whatever reason and it turns out that the hero really loved the heroine all along.  I just love that trope and Levelling the Score and Beyond Compare are both those sort of stories.

    Yesterday’s Echoes is so full of angst, but I just love it.  I don’t even normally go for that but I really think this is the romance novel that I have re-read the most out of my entire collection.  I just love this book.

  6. 6

    When I first started reading romance novels in high school, my aunt bought me a Penny Jordan at the recommendation of the person at Barnes and Noble.  I can’t for the life of me remember what that book was called, but it was really good and I don’t know why I never bought another one of her books.

    I hope Ms. Jordan rests in peace and my condolences go out to her family.

  7. 7

    Penny Jordan was one of the authors who converted me to reading category. I’m so saddened by her loss.

  8. 8
    Sarah Morgan says:

    Penny was so prolific it’s hard to pick out just one book, especially as people’s tastes are so different, but I’m reading other people’s posts and thinking ‘oh yes I remember that one’ and realising just how many of her books I read and enjoyed over the years. @Sharon M – I enjoyed Capable of Feeling too, and also Substitute Lover and another called Man Hater. Some of those early books were published in an anthology called ‘The Penny Jordan Collection’ and I read them until they fell apart.

    She was an inspiration in so many ways and will be missed.

  9. 9
    Willaful says:

    She’s written some awesomely angsty, old skool read, though one of my favorites is in a more modern vein: Blackmailing the Society Bride.  We just read Reponse in a book club and it’s wonderfully insane.

  10. 10
    Erin-Lee says:

    I recommend Silver. RIP Ms. Jordan; You will be missed.

  11. 11
    Kathleen O says:

    I saw this notice about Penny on the Harlequin site… May she RIP…

  12. 12
    Maliha A says:

    “Love’s Choices” was one of the first Penny Jordan books that I read. I re-read it for many years until I got tired of agnst stories and grand misunderstandings. Plus, Alexie’s controlling nature bugged me. Still, there were some beautiful and memorable scenes in that story and I can still remember them so it was worth reading all those years ago.

  13. 13
    Sally says:

    When I first heard this, I was very sad. Penny Jordan has an extra special place in my heart. Her book, The Italian Duke’s Wife, was the first romance novel I’ve finished and the one that propelled me into romancelandia (sp?). I’m not sure I would recommend it—the heroine in that book wants to have sex with the hero, but he just taunts her with bits of foreplay until the end—but aside from that part I enjoyed it very much.

    I also liked The Christmas Bride, Marriage: To Claim His Twins and The Demetrios Virgin (warning: surprise virgin plot!).

    Also, I feel like Jordan wrote the sexiest Presents during the 80’s. There is a hot beach scene in Response, but I wouldn’t recommend that book to just anyone—crazy plot and rapey hero; I believe Candy reviewed the manga version?? It’s one I also have fond memories of.

  14. 14
    Diane Sallans says:

    So Sad.  I’ve read so many of her books and always picked them up whenever I would see them.  I keep my eye out for her early books at garage & book sales.

  15. 15
    boogenhagen says:

    Penny Jordan has been one of my favorite writers for over 30 years.  She had style, presence and was pretty fearless in her plots and subjects. No other Harlequin Presents writer has been able to make me laugh, cry,  throw the book at the wall and then run over to pick it up to see how it all turns out like she could.

    Her Alpha heroes are sometimes borderline psychotic but they are interesting, provoking and never boring.  Her heroines are usually shy and a bit naive and sometimes infuriating but they are always written like they are someone you could actually meet in your neighborhood or have lunch with. For me, her best writing and her best characters are her Beta heroes or like in Capable of Feeling – an Alpha hero pretending to be Beta.

    She did the best Beta heroes I have read, they are sincere, believable, romantic and at the end of the book her heroine and the reader really believe in the Happy Ever After when her Beta heroes have the stage.

    Her best Beta hero book is Yesterday’s Echo’s – Jake and his thoughts and feelings are expressed eloquently and exquisitely both to the reader and even more importantly to the heroine as he helps her heal from her trauma and move into a loving relationship.  That is really hard to do in a coherent way in 187 pages, but Ms. Jordan was a genius at taking a complex or difficult subject and delicately diffusing the sweetest romance with personal growth for both characters and wrapping it all up in a big pink sparkly true love forever bow that the reader just knew was a genuine happy ending. 

    If there was ever a romance novel role model for the traits a woman should look for in a man to build a lifetime relationship with, Penny Jordan’s Beta heroes would serve as excellent examples.

  16. 16
    Selene says:

    Oh, I didn’t know that. It’s so sad. Especially when you hear the person died of cancer. I wish we could find a cure for cancer as well :(

    My favorite Penny Jordan book has always been: Mission Make Over, because in the book you can see how much the hero loved the heroine, the depth of his feelings. To love someone so much you’d always want the best for him or her, no matter the cost to yourself. It really touched me, and for that book, I will always be grateful to Penny Jordan for having written such a wonderful story. I hope wherever she is, she can see how much people will miss her and her books.

  17. 17
    Miss Moppet says:

    One of my first Harlequinns was a Penny Jordan book where the heroine had been sexually assaulted by her step father as a teenager and the hero was a reporter who had attempted to prove her to be a “lolita” type by trying to get her to be intimate with him. As a result, she was humiliated and I think maybe lost her case against her step father. Years later, the man shows up in her life and tries to make ammends (or something). It was salacious, over the top and totally awesome to my memory. It was called SAVAGE ATONEMENT. The hero’s last name is… well guess.

  18. 18
    Christina Noyb says:

    One of my first Harlequinns was a Penny Jordan book where the heroine had been sexually assaulted by her step father as a teenager and the hero was a reporter who had attempted to prove her to be a “lolita” type by trying to get her to be intimate with him. As a result, she was humiliated and I think maybe lost her case against her step father. Years later, the man shows up in her life and tries to make ammends (or something). It was salacious, over the top and totally awesome to my memory. It was called SAVAGE ATONEMENT. The hero’s last name is… well guess.

  19. 19
    Jhojerus says:

    I am saddened by her death tremendously. I loved her and her books. One of the greatest novelists of all time for me. It’s also sad that she does not have children who can continue her legacy…I am not good at remembering titles but I think my recommendation would be Silver ..

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