Jane Ridley

Wanderlust

Joan: The Remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor

By

Macmillan 348pp £25 order from our bookshop

Simon Fenwick is an archivist, and after Paddy Leigh Fermor died he was asked to fly to Greece to sort out his papers before they were returned to England. He filled nineteen cardboard boxes with Paddy’s notebooks, letters and records. Paddy’s wife, Joan, on the other hand, left hardly any papers. In his books Paddy barely mentions her. She was a diffident, private woman, and Fenwick’s biography is an attempt to rescue Joan from her husband’s shadow.

Joan’s life divides into two parts: before and after Paddy. She was born Joan Eyres Monsell in 1912. Her mother, Sybil Eyres, inherited a Leeds woollen fortune together with Dumbleton Hall, a Victorian mansion in Worcestershire. Her father, Bolton Monsell, was a naval officer with a long pedigree and little disposable income. When he married he double-barrelled his name, retired from the navy and used his wife’s money to finance a career in politics, ending up as a viscount and First Lord of the Admiralty. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,