Association first edition of Cartland's third novel — and one of only a handful of her 728 published books without a happy ending — inscribed by the Cartland to her uncle.
IF THE TREE IS SAVED
Barbara Cartland was one of the most successful authors in the history of the novel in English, with a career spanning seven decades, over 700 books, and more than one billion copies sold. Cartland's influence across romance is tremendous and multifaceted, not only in contemporaries but also historicals (where she herself was heavily indebted to Heyer and, at one point, quietly settled a plagiarism complaint brought by Heyer). Cartland was a flamboyant performer, the Liberace of romance. Interviews with her never fail to entertain, showing off a personality equally charismatic and eccentric. Every opinion she held was a strong one, and most of those opinions were contrary: she basked in her opposition to second wave feminism, and stuck proudly to her virginal heroines long after they had fallen out of style.
IF THE TREE IS SAVED stands out in Cartland's oeuvre because it is both heavily autobiographical and not a romance. The heroine first marries a charming man, only to face increasing disillusionment from his alcoholism; she then falls in love with his steadier cousin, a development that ends in a complex tragedy. Cartland herself entered a doomed marriage in 1927 and, after they divorced in 1933, Cartland married her former husband's cousin. Her first published novel after finding herself unhappily married, the plot of IF THE TREE IS SAVED suggests Cartland did not think she herself would achieve a happy ending at the time she wrote it — but, eventually, she did. Any first editions of Cartland's early books are scarce, and even rarer signed: especially so association copies.
Read more: Pearson, Barbara Cartland: Crusader in Pink.
London: Duckworth, (1929). 7.25'' x 4.75''. Original green cloth lettered in black. Lacking original dust jacket. 286 pages. Inscribed by Cartland on front free endpaper: "To darling Uncle Willie / with love / from / Barbara" [Cartland's uncle was William Hall Walker, Baron Wavertree, known in the family as Willie]. Toning to spine, some light stains to boards, spine lean. Offsetting to endpapers, else interior clean.
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