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Gwen Bristow Books In Order

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Publication Order of Plantation Trilogy Books

Deep Summer (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Handsome Road (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Side of Glory (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tomorrow is Forever (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jubilee Trail (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Celia Garth (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Calico Palace (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Golden Dreams (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Invisible Host (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gutenberg Murders (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mardi Gras Murders (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Two and Two Make Twenty-Two (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

From Pigtails to Wedding Bells (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon

Gwen Bristow was an American author and journalist who passed away in 1980. During her career she wrote multiple stories and found success both in literature and in Hollywood. She met another journalist named Bruce Manning and the two soon began dating, and then marrying. They would go on to write books together including The Invisible Host.

Her first novel, The Invisible Host, was written with Bruce Manning published in 1930 and ended up being adapted into a Broadway play called The Ninth Guest. The couple were called to Hollwyood after RKO Pictures bought the film rights to The Ninth Guest with the intention of having the two write the script for the movie. It was in California that Bristow would write some of her most successful novels including the Louisiana plantation novels: Deep Summer in 1937, The Handsome Road in 1938, and This Side of Glory in 1940.

Bristow as born in 1903 in Marion, South Carolina. She grew up there and first became interesting in writing while writing about junior high functions for the town’s local newspaper. She would go on to attend university at Anderson Baptist College in Anderson, South Carolina before transferring to Judson College in Marion, Alabama. Judson was an all-women’s college and Bristow did not like the rules that they imposed on the students including wearing uniforms and not being allowed to speak to men during their visits into town. While in college, Bristow directed and acted in two plays and played a male character in each of them. She graduated in 1924 with degrees in English and French. Prior to that, in her junior year, she was voted “Most Original” by her junior class.

After her graduation, Bristow decided to continue her education by studying journalism at the Pulitzer School of Journalism at Columbia University. Her parents, who had recently moved to New Orleans, were unable to support her financially in this endeavor so she earned money writing essays for other students. She also spent time working as a nursemaid, typing theses, writing biographies of businessmen for trade journals, and working as a secretary to a Polish baroness while in college to help support her education.

Gwen spent one year at Columbia before taking a summer job with The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. She impressed them early and was offered a permanent position which she accepted. She wrote about many things during her time as a journalist there including the great flood of 1927 and the social issues of the day that touched on gender equality. She would also cover the Huey Long assassination later in her career. It was during this time that Bristow became published for the first time with her poetry volume, The Alien and Other Poems that was released in 1926.

She met Bruce Manning, a fellow reporter, during this time while covering a murder trial. The two would begin dating and then they eloped on January 14, 1929, marrying in a civil ceremony in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. They eloped to avoid objection’s from their family who had different religious backgrounds. The two would co-author a mystery novel called The Invisible Host in 1930. The two then collaborated again on a second novel, The Guttenberg Murders in 1931. The publication lead to some newfound success for both of them and they ended up moving to a mansion in the Mississippi Gulfport area. However, the couple soon got caught up in the Depression of that time and began to struggle. Luckily for her, Gwen was able to get her job back The Times-Picayune.

Manning and Bristow eventually moved to Hollywood where they brought to write the script for The Ninth Guest. While there the couple decided to each write their own works. Manning published a solo novel, but Gwen had her novels rejected by publishers and she destroyed the manuscripts. She continued to write and eventually published the Louisiana plantation novels. As Bristow’s fame grew so did that of her husband who became a successful director and producer in Hollywood.

Bristow would later publish one of her biggest hits, Jubilee Trail in 1950. The book spent a lot of time on bestseller lists and was even adapted for a film. The couple would eventually move to the San Fernando Valley where Bristow would continue to write novels and articles until her death in 1980. She was honored, posthumously, by an induction into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989.

Deep Summer is the first book in the Louisiana Plantation Trilogy. The book tells the story of Judith Sheramy. Her father was in the king’s army during the French and Indian Wars and was granted a parcel in Louisiana. The family heads down to their new home in the wilderness where Judith meets a man named Philip Larne who steals her heart. He is an adventurer, a rogue, and, a killer, but he soon becomes her husband. Philip and Judith head down to Louisiana where they will start to build an empire for future generations.

Bristow followed that book up with The Handsome Road which shows the ways in which the Civil War alters life for a a Louisiana plantation mistress and a poor seamstress. Corrie May Upjohn is only fourteen and the daughter of a poor preacher who wishes she could get away from here. While a woman named Ann Sheramy Larne lives a life of luxury, but she feels just as imprisoned as Corrie May does. As the war and Reconstruction comes to Louisiana, the two will strike an unlikely friendship and band together to survive.

It took Bristow seven years to write The Jubilee Trail and it was well worth the wait. The book covers the history of mid-19th century California as Garnet Cameron, a young lady from New York, marries a trader named Oliver Hale and the two cross the mountains into the unheard-of land called California. Along the way Garnet meets Florinda in New Orleans who is also heading out to California. The two women meet all kinds of men never known to them before as they make their way to Los Angeles.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gwen Bristow

One Response to “Gwen Bristow”

  1. don: 6 months ago

    I found a book at flea market,and was first time I seen my last name spelled the same on a book.So took it home.The book is titled Calico Palace.Its a hardback and is in great shape.Copyright 1970.


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