Mary Wesley

Darling Pol
  • Darling Pol

  • Mary Wesley

    Before her death in 2002, Mary Wesley told her biographer Patrick Marnham: 'after I met Eric I never looked at anyone else again. We lived our ups and downs but life was never boring'. Eric Siepmann was her second husband and their correspondence charted their life together (and apart) with unusual candour and spirit.

    These remarkable letters, which were inspired by Mary's great love story with Eric, were also the means by which the novelist found her voice. Entrusted to Marnham in two size -5 shoe boxes, this is one of the great surviving post-war correspondences.

Mary Wesley was born near Windsor in 1912. Her education took her to the London School of Economics and during the War she worked in the War Office. Although she initially fulfilled her parent's expectations in marrying an aristocrat she then scandalised them when she divorced him in 1945 and moved in with the great love of her life, Eric Siepmann. The couple married in 1952, once his wife had finally been persuaded to divorce him. She used to comment that her 'chief claim to fame is arrested development, getting my first novel [Jumping the Queue] published at the age of seventy'. She went on to write a further nine novels, three of which were adapted for television, including the best-selling The Camomile Lawn. Mary Wesley was awarded the CBE in the 1995 New Year's honour list and died in 2002.