Ida Crowe was born on 12 April 1908 in Lewisham, Kent, England, UK, the daughter of a single mother and a unknown father, who rumoured to be a Russian duke, who her mother met at a ball in Greenwich. Ida narrowly escaped being smothered with a pillow by the nurse who attended her birth. As a teenager, she travelled alone to Morocco, after suffering a mental breakdown. From the age of ten, she knew she wanted to write. She began to write while still at school encouraged by her mother, with whom she lived in Hastings.
Writing fiction since her very early teens, setting her first publication, Palanquins and coloured lanterns, in 1920's Shanghai and she had several stories in major magazines and short novels in print. When at 20, she visited the George Newnes's office in London, to sold her her first full-length manuscript. Three months later, she discovered that they had lost her manuscript. After they found it, she returned to London to met one of its editors, the 39 year old Hugh Alexander Pollock (1888–1971), a distinguished veteran of World War I. Hugh had been married since 1924 to his second wife, the popular children's writer Enid Blyton, with whom he had two daughters Gillian Mary (1931–2007) and Imogen Mary (born 1935). Hugh was divorced from his first wife, Marion Atkinson, with whom he had two sons; William Cecil Alexander (1914–1916) and Edward Alistair (1915–1969). George Newnes bougth her manuscript, and contract her to wrote two other novels.
In the dark days at the beginning of World War II, Ida worked at hostel for girls in London through the Blitz. Hugh, who had left publishing to join the army, was Commandant of a school for Home Guard officers, and his second marriage was in difficulties. They has a chance encounter after a long time, and feeling Ida should be out of London, he offered her a post as civilian secretary at the army training centre in the Surrey Hills. She accepted, and as the months went by their relationship intensified. During a bungled firearms training session Hugh was hit by shrapnel on a firing range, and Ida had contact with Enid, but she declined go to visit her husband in Dorking, because she was so busy and hated the hospitals. On May 1942, during a visit to her mother's home in Hastings, a bomb destroyed the house. Ida escaped unhurt, but her mother was in hospital for two weeks. Hugh, who was sent overseas, paid for Ida to stay in smart London hotel Claridges, and decided to divorce his wife, who in 1941 met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters and had begun a relationship with him. To get a quick divorce, Hugh blamed himself for adultery at divorce petition. On 26 October 1943, Ida married with Hught at London's Guildhall register office, six days after Enid's marriage with Darrell Waters. In 1944, they had a daughter Rosemary Pollock, also a romance writer. Enid changed the name of their daughters, and Hugh did not see them again, although Enid had promised access as part of his taking the blame for the divorce.
After the World War II, George Newnes, Hugh's old firm, decided not to work with him anymore. They also represented Enid Blyton and were not willing to let her go. After this the marriage experienced financial problems and, in 1950, Hugh had to declare bankruptcy while he struggled with alcoholism. A determined Ida plunged back into her literary work, and decided to write popular contemporary romances, she sold her first novel to Mills & Boon in 1952. Being in print with several major international publishers at the same time, she decided to use multiple pseudonyms. At that time, the pseudonyms were registered by the publishers and not by the writers. In the 1950s she wrote as Susan Barrie, Pamela Kent, Rose Burghley, and Mary Whistler to Mills & Boon, as Averil Ives and Barbara Rowan to Ward Lock, as Anita Charles to Wright & Brown, as Jane Beaufort to Collins. With the production of ten or twelve titles in every year, it was not long before she becoming hugely popular right across the world. Ida became little disenchanted with contemporary romances and decided to write her first historical romance, "The Gentle Masquerade", that was published in 1964 under her married name, Ida Pollock, and after the success of it, Mills and Boon's "Masquerade" series of historical romances was launched, and she became one of their four founding writers with four novels more. Under her last pseudonym, Marguerite Bell, she also wrote historical romances. In the 1970s she slowed the rhythm of publication, but continues to write. Besides romances she published as Barbara Rowan a suspense novel and two Children/Young Adults Fiction books. Ida has more than a hundred widely published novels as her married name and under her numerous pseudonyms, most of her novels have been reprinted by Mill & Boon (or Harlequin in the United States). Ida was a founder member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and in 2010 she helped in its 50th anniversary.
During her marriage Ida travelled widely and lived in many parts of England. It was their daughter's bad asthma that brought the Pollocks to Cornwall. They also lived in Ireland, France, Italy, Malta and Switzerland, where they successfully obtained a lasting cure for Rosemary's debilitating asthma. Hugh died at 8 November 1971 in Malta, where he is buried in Mtarfa's British military cemetery. After her husband's death, Ida returned with her daughter to England and they lived several years in Wiltshire, before moving to Lanreath in 1986.
Ida is also recognised oil painter, who has been selected for inclusion in a national exhibition in 2004. She also makes model houses, usually scale miniatures of Georgian or Tudor buildings. Ida's autobiography, Starlight, published November 15, 2009, tells the story of the start of her career, her marriage, and the relation of her husband with her ex-wife Enid Blyton.
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- 7 editions - first published in 1958
- 7 editions - first published in 1955
- 4 editions - first published in 1978 Borrow
- 3 editions - first published in 1977
- 2 editions - first published in 1970
- 1 edition - first published in 1964
- 1 edition - first published in 1969
- 1 edition - first published in 1967
- 1 edition - first published in 2009
- 1 edition - first published in 1965
- 1 edition - first published in 2016
Links (outside Open Library)
History Created September 16, 2008 ·
|October 20, 2013||Edited by CGN||Added new photo|
|February 26, 2011||Edited by CGN||Edited without comment.|
|May 11, 2010||Edited by 188.8.131.52||Added new photo|
|April 12, 2010||Edited by Open Library Bot||Added photos to author pages.|
|September 16, 2008||Created by ImportBot||Initial record created, from Talis MARC record.|