Fifty years after writing her first novel 'Must I Remember', BA Philosophy (1997) alumna Irene Panter has put pen to paper for a second time. Her new book, The Contessa's Last Dance, is a romance based on the life of Dame Barbara Cartland
Despite seeing her first novel published by Hodder and Stoughton more than 50 years ago, Middlesex alumna and novelist, Irene Panter, decided not to pursue her passion for writing and opted for a career in personnel management.
However, when 86-year old Irene became friends with Dame Barbara in her latter years, she saw her love for the written word rekindled as she became inspired by the stories the prolific author and society figure shared with her when they met for tea.
With the encouragement of Dame Barbara herself, Irene set about crafting a historical romance set against the backdrop of Austria and England and the rapid onset of alienating technologies. The end result, 'The Contessa's Last Dance', was published earlier in 2013.
"The book is really a lament for England, Robert Browning's 'Oh to be in England' sort of thing," Irene said in an interview with the Borehamwood Times.
"That's what Dame Barbara was in mourning for, she was a traditionalist."