(Janet Miriam) Taylor (Holland) Caldwell

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

(Janet Miriam) Taylor (Holland) Caldwell 1900–

(Also wrote under pseudonyms of Max Reiner and Marcus Holland) English-born American novelist.

Since the publication of her first novel, Dynasty of Death, in 1938, Caldwell has written over thirty internationally best-selling romance novels. Many of her works are long, multigenerational sagas featuring immigrant protagonists who struggle for wealth and power. Caldwell has also written religious fiction, notably Dear and Glorious Physician (1959) and I, Judas (1977). These novels received favorable reviews for their attempt to demystify Saint Luke and Judas Iscariot. Testimony of Two Men (1968) and Captains and the Kings (1972) were serialized for television.

Critics generally agree that Caldwell's greatest strength as a novelist lies in her narrative ability. Her novels exhibit extensive historical research, thus providing a realistic sense of place. It is conceded, however, that much of her writing is formulaic, with stock characters and contrived plots. In addition, critics fault her didactic tendency. Still, Caldwell provides a "good read" and her enduring popularity ensures her a dominant place in the romance genre.

(See also CLC, Vol. 2; Contemporary Authors, Vol. 5-8, rev. ed.; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 5.)