Mary Wesley

Darling Pol
  • Darling Pol

  • 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. She also worked part-time in the antiques trade. Mary Wesley lived in London, France, Italy, Germany and several places in the West Country. She used to comment that her 'chief claim to fame is arrested development, getting my first novel published at the age of seventy'. That first novel, Jumping the Queue, was followed by a subsequent nine bestsellers: The Camomile Lawn, Second Fiddle, Harnessing Peacocks, The Vacillations of Poppy Carew, Not That Sort of Girl, A Sensible Life, A Dubious Legacy, An Imaginative Experience and Part of the Furniture. Mary Wesley was awarded the CBE in the 1995 New Year's honour list and died in 2002.