Joanna Trollope’s angst
Books have saved Joanna Trollope, it seems. Back in 1991, she’d had so little money that she hadn’t been able to afford to turn on the heating in her rural English home for the past three years. Then The Rector’s Wife, was published, and lo, it was a life-saving bestseller, even pushing the current Big Name, Jeffrey Archer, off the top of the bestseller list.
A descendant of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, Joanna was the archetypal gawky eldest girl, a wallflower at dances, and never part of the group. Books saved her from that, too. As she says in an interview by Samantha Selinger-Morris, for the Sydney Morning Herald, she became one of life’s observers.
This isolation led to an enormous output of books – thirty-one, to date. “Churning them out,” the literati would say – the same literati who deride her as the “Aga saga queen,” the oldfashioned coal or wood fired iron Aga stove featuring in so many of her yarns. No harm has been done, however. Trollope has sold five million books, got the gong for Order of British Empire, and been nominated by Harpers as one of the six chosen to write Austen-style novels.
Joanna Trollope’s take on Sense and Sensibility will be out next year. Whether it will feature an Aga stove remains to be seen.