Jessica Mann

Arsenic Without the Old Lace

Wild Mary

By

Chatto & Windus 304pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Given a choice, would it be preferable to achieve success as a novelist at an early age and spend the rest of a career trying to live up to that early triumph, or wait till old age, like Barbara Pym or Mary Wesley herself? It must have been fun for Wesley, despised by resentful relations and rejected by publishers, suddenly at the age of seventy to leap out of obscurity to fame and fortune. As one of her contemporaries said, ‘It shows we needn’t give up hope yet.’

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