In a statement yesterday, St. Martin’s Press defended The Raven’s Bride by Lenore Hart, which they published in February of this year, from accusations that it plagiarizes passages from Cothburn O’Neal’s 1956 novel, The Very Young Mrs. Poe. They said that any similarities are a result of the fact that both novels are about Edgar Allan Poe’s child bride, Virginia Clemm (via the Associated Press). WorldCat shows that nearly 500 libraries own The Raven’s Bride.
Questions about the two books were raised by British author Jeremy Duns on his blog last month.
Earlier in November, Duns pointed out similarites between Q.R. Markham’s Assassin of Secrets and several other titles, resulting in that book being pulled by Little, Brown a few days after publication. That action was taken before most libraries had received it, so it is available only a few. The New Yorker’s “Book Bench” blog points out that Assassin of Secrets lifts so many passages from other sources that the book is more of a “pastiche or collage, rather than a ‘novel,’ as we properly understand the word” and that Q.R. Markham (the pseudonym for Quentin Rowan), who is a poet and part owner of a bookstore in Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn, may have consciously perpetrated an elaborate hoax. Markham, himself, blames his actions on his need “to conceal my own voice with the armour of someone else’s words.”
There may be one lesson in the earlier case; the attention caused the book’s sales to skyrocket prior to it being recalled.