Charlotte was born on 19 January 1941 in Toronto, Canada. She was abused during childhood. She moved to England from 1961 to 1964, where she worked as a television actress and singer. She returned to Toronto briefly, performing as a singer and in cabaret revues until she emigrated to the United States in 1966.
In 1970, she married Walter Bateman Allen Jr and instaled in Connecticut in 1970. Shortly after her marriage, she began writing and sold her first novel, Love Life, in 1974. Prior to its publication, she had contracted to do a series of paperback originals for Warner Books, with the result that in 1976 three of her books appeared in print. Her award-winning autobiography, Daddy’s Girl , was actually the first book she wrote, but in 1971 it was deemed too controversial by the editors who read it. It wasn’t until 1980, after she’d gained success as a novelist, that the groundbreaking book was finally published.
Charlotte’s 30-plus novels have sold over eight-million copies, have been published in all English-speaking countries, in braille, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. She is consistently one of the most borrowed authors in worldwide English-language libraries. She also used the pseudonym of Katharine Marlowe. In 2000, CBS bought the rights to Somebody’s Baby for a movie-of-the-week, and several of her other novels are currently under option for film and television.
In her writing, she tries to deal with issues confronting women, being informative while at the same time offering a measure of optimism. "My strongest ability as a writer is to make women real, to take you inside their heads and let you know how they feel, and to make you care about them." Her goal "has always been to communicate, to enlighten people about women’s issues without being preachy, and to entertain while doing it. If I succeed in getting someone to think about the book’s content after they’ve finished reading it, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do."
A film buff and an amateur photographer, Charlotte enjoys foreign travel. She finds cooking and needlework therapeutic, and is a lifelong movie fan. The mother of an adult daughter, she continued living in Connecticut.