British author Penny Vincenzi, whose novels have sold more than seven million copies worldwide, died February 25, the Guardian reported. She was 78. Vincenzi published her first book, Old Sins, in 1989 and produced 17 novels and two short story collections. Her "sweeping, doorstopper-sized novels earned her the moniker 'doyenne of the modern blockbuster' from Glamour."
"Her special gift as a novelist was her love for her characters, and that came from her deep interest in not only the people in her imagination, but also in pretty well everyone she ever met," said Clare Alexander, Vincenzi's agent. "She had such a generous gift of friendship, quite blind to whether someone was the boss or just making her a cup of tea. And that is why so many people in publishing will be devastated by her loss. Throughout her life--which like everyone's, had its own tragedies and pitfalls--Penny always looked for hope and joy and the best way forward, which is perhaps why her huge fan base crossed generations and never deserted her. I will miss her every day. She was a storyteller of such natural talent."
Author Sophie Kinsella noted: "As an author, I so admired her ability to weave together huge, epic plot lines and create such satisfying books full of real life, wit and passion. She was like one of her own novels: once you were in her company you didn't want to say goodbye. I will really miss her."
Vincenzi's books include A Question of Trust; the Lytton Family Trilogy (No Angel, Something Dangerous, Into Temptation); A Perfect Heritage; and Forbidden Places.