Charlotte Carter has authored over 50 books. Most of them fall within the genre of romance fiction, and some are amateur detective novels with a strong romantic element to them. All of her books feature humor, mystery and suspense.
Brief biography of Charlotte Carter.
Charlotte Carter’s life seems to have been a somewhat gentle one. She did not travel very widely, and she spent much of her life in the same region of the USA. However, in her novels, her mind roams throughout the states of the US and beyond and delves into various mysteries, romances, and thrilling tales of crime and adventure.
Carter was born in the US, and she resided in South California with her husband until she passed away in 2013. She had a large family consisting of two daughters and five grandchildren – as well as some feline companions. As well as writing romance novels she also performed stand up comedy. Her comedy show is ‘Rated G – for Grown Ups’.
Carter was a member of the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Moreover, she was very active in her support of younger authors, particularly those who wanted to write for the Harlequin imprint (the main publishing house that Carter herself wrote for).
Given that most of her life was spent in Southern California, it is interesting many of her books have a distinctive American feel to them, with many of them being based in specific states like Montana. Indeed, this is part of their appeal for many of her fans, as Carter is able to conjure a sense of place and atmosphere very vividly, whether she is describing a big city or the rugged rocks of a Montana mountain path.
Book series written by Charlotte Carter.
Carter wrote many book series during her literary career. Many of them were linked by a distinctive theme. One such theme was Montana’, for example. Carter wrote a series of Montana themed books that included Montana Hearts’, Home to Montana’ and Montana Wrangler’. In addition she wrote a series known as the Big Sky’ series which featured titles such as Big Sky Family’.
As mentioned above, most if not all of Carter’s published works fall within the genres of romantic fiction and amateur detective fiction. Very often, these two genres will intersect in her works as an amateur sleuth solves crimes and falls in love along the way!
Many of her books feature chance encounters in relatively remote, romantic locations. For example, people seeking a fresh start or a refuge from the world in places such as Montana will often be met by handsome strangers who turn their lives upside down.
Several of the books also deal with clashes of cultures. For example, Montana Wrangler’ features a young heroine who finds herself torn between her rural Montana homestead and the thrills and spills of the big city. Needless to say, it is a romantic encounter that helps her to decide between these two option.
Carter has also co-authored several works, both anonymously and as a named presence on the cover. Many of the works that she has co-authored have been crime novels. She has also written crime fiction under the name Nanette Hayes.
Two representative works by Charlotte Carter.
Having given a brief overview of Carter’s general style, let us now take a look at two of her key works. The works that we will look at are Plundered Treasure’ (2008) and Jackson Park’ (2003).
This book follows the fortunes of two sisters named Abby and Mary. The sisters are awoken one day on their idyllic island by the presence of a thief. Abby catches a glimpse of the intruder as he flees, however she is unsure who he is. This sparks off a sense of adventure in both of the girls’ hearts. Together, the resourceful duo decide to lay an ingenious trap to catch the thief and find out their identity!
This book is notable because it also contains an autobiographical element. One of the characters, Bobby McDonald, joins a stand up comedy group. As mentioned above, Carter herself worked as a stand up comedian alongside her writing. So, it can definitely be argued that in this book, the author is drawing on her own autobiographical experience.
All in all, this book is a gentle comedy with plenty of mystery and suspense as well. Here, we see a romance writer taking the tools associated with the romance trade (chance encounters, mystery, and a little humor too) and using them to create a more general story about the goings on on a sun splashed island.
This novel is a key example of one of Carter’s historical crime novels. The novel is set in 1968, shortly after the asassination of Martin Luther King. As the novel opens, we are confronted with two patriarchal families who seem stable enough.
However, as is often the case with Carter’s novels, the arrival of a beautiful young girl, Cassandra (the grand daughter of one of the patriarchs) turns things upside down. As the novel progresses, we find ourselves being drawn deeper into the past as an old muder case is re-opened.
This is a novel that revolves around young girls who go missing. Again, the reader is kept in a state of suspense as they speculate about the mystery at hand. Will it ever be solved? Will the murderer ever be found, given that one of the cases being dealt with here is so far in the past?
This novel has strong elements of classic noir fiction to it. As such, it will definitely appeal to lovers of noir crime fiction, and to all classics within the crime genre.
A versatile writer.
As the above description shows, Carter is an extremely versatile writer, able to write everything from a gentle adventure story to a gritty, thrilling murder mystery. One thing is constant throughout her books, though, and that is the element of suspense.
Many readers evince surprise that a romance author can also turn her hands deftly to crime writing. However, this phenomenon is actually very common. Many romance authors are also crime writers. Perhaps this is because the two literary genres both feature somewhat similar plot elements: suspense, mystery, chance encounters and encounters with destiny. Whichever type of novel they read by Carter, though, readers of all ages find themselves gripped and ready to read more.
Books in order of publication by series:
Nanette Hayes Books
|Rhode Island Red||(1997)|
|Coq Au Vin||(1999)|
Cook County Books
Hope Haven Books
|Strength in Numbers||(2010)|
Heart Of Main Street Books
|Tail of Two Hearts||(2013)|
Secrets Of Mary’s Bookshop
|Reading the Clues||(2013)|
|Big Sky Reunion||(2011)|
|Big Sky Family||(2011)|
|Montana Love Letter||(2012)|
|Home to Montana||(2013)|