The British author of such popular works as Spellbound and Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans, she is often credited (along with fellow writer Helen Fielding) with establishing the "chick lit" genre.
She studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and subsequently wrote women's articles for publications such as The Daily Express and Cosmopolitan.
She penned two New York Times bestselling novels: Second Chance and The Beach House.
She settled in Connecticut with her second husband (Ian Warburg) and her six children.
A notable philanthropist, she was a major donor to a camp for ill children that had been established by actor Paul Newman.