I always loved her books. The first one I read was her debut, The World is Full of Married Men; I read it in the late 1970s when, I seem to remember, she was dismissed by many as being 'trashy', and had a reputation for writing about nothing but sex. I read this book and thought, untrue on all counts! Jackie didn't just write about sex, she wrote about relationships in which it played a big part, but the sex was never overly explicit for the sake of it, or cringe-making, it was realistic. What made Jackie so good was her brilliant plots, her great dialogue, her three dimensional characters, and her open window into the real lives of the rich and famous.
In 1983 I read the book that I still think is her best of all the ones I've read ~ Chances. One of my top twenty books ever, I've read it so many times. It's the story of Gino Santangelo (who I totally fell in love with!) and starts in 1921; he's a New York street kid who becomes a gangster and hugely successful businessman. Running alongside is the tale of Carrie, a teenager forced into prostitution. This book, more than any gangster films or Boardwalk Empire, got me interested in the underworld of American organised crime, the rackets during prohibition, etc etc; I can't recommend it too highly. Other favourites of mine are Lovers and Gamblers ~ rock star Al King (loosely based on Tom Jones?), beauty queen Dallas and a disaster in the Amazon jungle ~ and the first (1980s) Hollywood Wives, which unmasked the truth behind the Hollywood A List! Oh, and how could I forget Rock Star, and The Stud, and Lucky ...
Jackie Collins' fictional ladies were no ditzy chick lit heroines ~ never mind Bridget Jones, I'd rather read about Lucky Santangelo, Montana Grey and Elaine Conti from Hollywood Wives, Venus Maria (loosely based on Madonna?) from whichever one or two she was in (Hollywood Husbands, I think). Women, who, ahem, kicked ass, I believe is the term.
My sister Julia met Jackie in 1991. Julia worked in television at the time and was at the launch for the video being made of Hollywood Wives. Jackie C was well known for not liking to wear dresses; Julia was wearing a shirt, tie and trousers, and Jackie approached her to say how much she liked what she was wearing. They chatted for half an hour or so, and Julia said she was delightful. (incidentally, as was Joan, when we both met her in 1999).
She was fab. And so were her books. RIP Jackie; it would be nice to think she is reunited with husband Oscar, who died some years back.
Joan Collins pays tribute HERE
Her last British interview, from The Guardian, HERE