Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Update: The Edwardians (Part 3 of 4)

40 more Edwardians!  And only 38 to go (I eliminated two of the original 160 because, as it turned out, they both stopped publishing at the very beginning of my time frame.)

There were fewer writers in this batch who caught my eye—a LOT of writers of romance and melodrama here—but many of the ones who did seem to have a lot of potential.  The "OCEF" mentioned here and there below, in case you missed the earlier updates, refers to The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction, in which I first came across most of the writers in these four Edwardian updates.

The women who caught my eye this time:

MARGARET LEGGE, whose novels OCEF compares with those of May Sinclair.

SARAH BROOM MACNAUGHTON, who was a nurse during the Boer War and World War I and wrote, as OCEF puts it, "intelligent, humorous, mildly feminist fiction, often set in high society"; also of interest are A Woman's Diary of the War (1915) and two autobiographical works on which MacNaughton worked just before her premature death, which were published as My War Experiences in Two Continents (1919) and My Canadian Memories (1920).

Sarah Broom MacNaughton

MARY E[LIZABETH]. MANN, whose novels and stories were compared by contemporary critics to Hardy; some of Mann's works have been reprinted recently by Larkspress, including Astray in Arcady (1910), which their website describes as follows: "Charlotte Poole, a London novelist, descends upon Dulditch to ‘study the native at first hand’. The characters of the village provide much material for her dry wit, expressed in letters to her son and her friend, Hildred."  [Larkspress also has some other interesting titles, so I've added a link to my "Sympatico Sites" list for them.]

F[RANCES]. F[REDERICA]. MONTRESOR, whose novels OCEF describes as "intelligent romantic fiction" and whose The Strictly Trained Mother (1913) sounds particularly interesting: "a quiet satirical comedy about the elderly, bullied mother of two strong-minded daughters who conspires with a suffragette granddaughter to escape from them."

LORNA MOON, whose dramatic life as a successful screenwriter in Hollywood ended tragically with an early death from tuberculosis, but not before she published a story collection, Doorways in Drumorty (1925), and an acclaimed novel, Dark Star (1929), both of which make use of her harsh childhood in rural Scotland.  Her Collected Works, published in 2002, also include letters and poetry, and that volume is still in print.  Her third child, Richard de Mille, whose father was Cecil B. DeMille's brother (the spelling difference in the names is due to the film director's changing it to make it more memorable to audiences) and who was adopted by DeMille himself, has also written a book, My Secret Mother, about his research on Moon—which included discovering the two earlier children she had had with two different men and abandoned before ending up in Hollywood.  One source online from 2009 said that a Scottish film director was trying to produce a film about Moon, though I found no information about an active project on IMDB.

Lorna Moon, who had an interesting life (to say the least)

LESLIE MOORE, whose eccentric novels of literary and artistic life—Aunt Olive in Bohemia, or, The Intrusions of a Fairy Godmother (1913) and The Peacock Feather: A Romance (1913)—sound intriguing.  Google Books shows several other titles that also look like novels, including The Jester (1915), The Wiser Folly (1916), and Antony Gray, Gardener (1917).

There are also a few other writers with prominent connections:

MARIE CONNOR LEIGHTON, mother of Vera Brittain's fiancé, Ronald Leighton, who was killed in World War I and whom Brittain writes about extensively in her memoir Testament of Youth.

JANE ELLEN PANTON, who was the daughter of painter William Frith and sister of novelist Walter Frith.

and MABEL QUILLER-COUCH, sister of prominent novelist, critic, and anthologist Arthur Quiller-Couch, who published under the pseudonym "Q."

Happy exploring!

Current count: 571


Author of "marriage problem novels of a mildly racy kind" (OCEF), including The Flame and the Flood (1903), The Stars Beyond (1907), Imperial Richenda: A Fantastic Comedy (1908), The Single Eye (1924), The Golden Egg (1927), and The Green Banks of Shannon (1929).

MARGARET LEGGE (1872-1957)

Author of seven novels of the 1910s and 1920s, which OCEF compares with those of May Sinclair; titles include A Semi-Detached Marriage (1912), The Rebellion of Esther (1914), The Wane of Uxenden (1917), and A Tempestuous Daughter (1924).

(aka Mrs. Robert Leighton)

Mother of Ronald Leighton, Vera Brittain's fiancé who was killed in WWI; prolific author of romance novels and thrillers, including Convict 413L (1910), The Silver Stair (1914), The Shame of Silence (1917), and Lucile Dare, Detective (1919).

MRS. DISNEY LEITH (????-1926)
(pseudonym of Mary Charlotte Julia Leith, née Gordon)

Poet, translator (from Icelandic), children's author, and novelist; much of her work is Victorian, but her late novels, including A Black Martinmas (1912) and its sequel Lachlan's Widow (1913), fall within my scope.


Popular and prolific novelist from the 1910s to the 1940s; Gnats and Camels (1924) is about a young woman rebelling against her stuffy family; other titles include The Shoreless Sea (1912), The Odds Against Her (1925), Sweet Fruit (1935), and Old Hillersley's Heiress (1940).

WINIFRED M. LETTS (1882-1972)

Playwright, poet, children's author, and novelist; works include Diana Dethroned (1909), Naughty Sophia (1912), The Rough Way (1912), Christina's Son (1915), Corporal's Corner (1919), and a memoir called Knockmaroon (1933).

MAUDE LITTLE (1890-????)

Author of four novels, which sound a bit on the melodrama side—At the Sign of the Burning Bush (1910), A Woman on the Threshold (1911), The Children's Bread: A Romance (1912), and The Rose-Coloured Room (1915).

ELLA MACMAHON (ca. 1867-1956)

Novelist who specialized in themes of marital infidelity and deception; works include The Court of Conscience (1908), The Job (1914), John Fitzhenry (1920), Mercy and Truth (1923), and Wind of Dawn (1927).


Author of several dozen novels often set in her native Ireland and sometimes pushing the boundaries of sexual content; titles include The Awakening (1914), Jealous Gods (1921), A Fortune for Two (1928), and Duet for a Trio (1933), which Norah Hoult reviewed with qualified praise.


Nurse, diarist, and novelist of "intelligent, humorous, mildly feminist fiction" (according to OCEF), including The Fortune of Christina M'Nab (1901), The Three Miss Graemes (1908), and Four-Chimneys (1912); her unfinished memoir appeared as My Canadian Memories (1920.

MARY E[LIZABETH]. MANN (1848–1929)

Author of several dozen novels and story collections that were well-received in her day and garnered comparisons with Hardy; titles include Rose at Honeypot (1906), Astray in Arcady (1910), and The Pedlar's Pack (1918); Larkspress in the U.K. has recently reprinted several of her books.


Author of melodramatic novels, some incorporating the supernatural, as well as a well-received book about her travels in Africa, Via Rhodesia (1911); fiction includes Torn Lace (1904), The Girl and the Gods (1906), and Strings (1920), the last a "horror novel about a sinister violin" (!!!).

AMY MCLAREN (dates unknown)

Scottish novelist of light fiction, including From a Davos Balcony (1903), the popular Bawbee Jock (1910), Through Other Eyes (1914), and Donald's Trust (1919).

LOTTIE MCMANUS (c.1850-1941)

Novelist and memoirist whose White Light and Flame (1929) explores her own conflicted feelings about England and Ireland; novels include In Sarsfield's Days (1906) and Nuala: The Story of a Perilous Quest (1908).

G[ERALDINE]. E[DITH]. MITTON (????-1955)

Author of travel books such as A Bachelor Girl in Burma (1907), children's biographies of Jane Austen (1905) and Captain Cook (1927), and novels including The Gifts of Enemies (1900), The Opportunist (1902), The Two-Stringed Fiddle (1919), and Bitter Harvest (1926).

(pseudonym of Kathleen Montgomery [1863-1960] and Letitia Montgomery [????-1930])

Sisters who worked together as translators and novelists, generally historical romances; titles include The Ark of the Curse (1906), The Gate-Openers (1912), and Maids of Salem (1915).


Novelist whose "intelligent romantic fiction" sounds intriguing, especially The Strictly Trained Mother (1913)—described by OCEF as "a quiet satirical comedy about the elderly, bullied mother of two strong-minded daughters who conspires with a suffragette granddaughter to escape from them."

LORNA MOON (1886-1930)
(pseudonym of Nora Wilson Low)

A successful screenwriter for the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Moon contracted tuberculosis and during her treatment wrote a story collection, Doorways in Drumorty (1925), and an acclaimed novel, Dark Star (1929), about her youth in Scotland; her Collected Works are currently in print.

LESLIE MOORE (dates unknown)

Children's author and novelist; two or Moore's works sound irresistible—Aunt Olive in Bohemia, or, The Intrusions of a Fairy Godmother (1913) and The Peacock Feather: A Romance (1913), both of which deal humorously with the literary and artistic life.

(née MacDonald, aka Baroness Napier of Magdala)

Novelist of romantic melodrama whose works include A Stormy Morning (1908), How She Played the Game (1910), Can Man Put Asunder? (1911), Muddling Through (1912), and Half a Lie (1916).


Author of seven romantic novels spread over nearly 30 years, including The Heart of a Gypsy (1909), Tess Harcourt (1913), Release (1921), and Alpine Episode (1938); Indian Embers (1949) is a memoir of her life in India with her husband, a member of the Indian Civil Service.

MRS. GEORGE NORMAN (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of Melesina Mary Blount, née Mackenzie)

Author nearly a dozen light romantic novels from the 1900s through 1920s; titles include Delphine Caifrey (1911), The Silver Dress (1912), The Wonderful Adventure (1914), and The Town on the Hill (1927); her sister Margaret helped get Daisy Ashford's The Young Visitors published.

MARY OPENSHAW (????-1928)

Author of several novels from 1908 to the 1920s, some historical and most partaking of melodramatic themes; titles include The Cross of Honour (1910), Sunshine: The Story of a Pure Heart (1914), Laughter Street, London (1920), and Madame Lucifer (1924).

GERTRUDE PAGE (1873-1922)

Novelist who often wrote about life in Rhodesia, where she lived from 1900 with her husband; titles include Love in the Wilderness: The Story of Another African Farm (1907), Where Strange Roads Go Down (1913), and The Rhodesian (1912).

J[ANE]. E[LLEN]. PANTON (1848-1923)
(aka Mrs. J. A. Panton, née Frith)

Daughter of painter William Frith and sister of novelist Walter Frith; journalist, advice writer, memoirist, and novelist; her memoirs, starting with Leaves from a Life (1908), give insight into Victorian artistic circles; novels include A Cannibal Crusader (1908).


Biographer and author of numerous light comedies of village life, of which At Lavender Cottage (1912), about a spinster falling in love, sounds most entertaining; others include Phyllida Flouts Me (1913), The Silent Battlefield (1918), and Mortmain (1928).

F[ANNY]. E[MILY]. PENNY (1847-1939)

Prolific popular novelist whose works were often set in India, where she lived for many years; some explored conflicts of culture and religion, others sound more light-hearted in tone; works include The Outcaste (1912), Desire and Delight (1919), and Get on with the Wooing (1931).

MRS. H. H. PENROSE (1860-????)
(pseudonym of Mary Elizabeth Penrose, née Lewis)

Author of mostly light, humorous novels from The Love that Never Dies (1898) to Charles the Great: A Very Light Comedy (1912), The Brat: A Trifle (1913), The House of Rennel (1913), and Two Young Pigeons (1915); her death date is unknown, but she stopped publishing after 1915.

ALICE PERRIN (1867-1934)

Author of romantic novels of Anglo-Indian life, including The Charm (1910), The Woman in the Bazaar (1914), and The Vow of Silence (1920); her story collection, East of Suez (1901), was compared to Kipling, while Red Records (1906) contains stories of the supernatural.

HELEN PROTHERO-LEWIS (dates unknown)

Author of sentimental romantic novels, including Tobias and the Angel (1908), As God Made Her (1919), The Fire Opal (1922), and These Our Misdoings (1928).

DAISY HUGH PRYCE (dates unknown)

Novelist of the 1890s to 1910s whose works include Deyncourt of Deyncourt (1907), A Diamond in the Dust (1909), The Ethics of Evan Wynne (1913), and Hill Magic (1914), about a man in a Welsh village who adopts an orphan.


Sister of Arthur Quiller-Couch (aka "Q") and author of children's books and novels, often set in Cornwall, including The Carroll Girls, or, How the Sisters Helped (1906), On Windycross Moor (1910), A Cottage Rose (1920), as well as Cornwall's Wonderland: Legends of Old Cornwall (1914).

RINA RAMSAY (dates unknown)

Writer of seven romantic novels which often feature hunting scenes, including The Straw (1909), Barnaby (1910), Impossible She (1912), and Step in the House (1926); also wrote numerous stories in periodicals, many of which apparently had themes of suspense or horror.

OLIVIA RAMSEY (dates unknown)

Published nine light, humorous novels 1909-1914, then apparently vanished; titles include Sylvia and the Secretary (1909), Two Men and a Governess (1912), A Girl of No Importance (1913), and Callista in Revolt (1914).

MAUD STEPNEY RAWSON (dates unknown)

Author of historical romances from the 1900s to 1920s, including A Lady of the Regency (1901), The Enchanted Garden (1907), The Labourer's Comedy (1910), The Watered Garden (1913), and The Magic Gate (1917).

(aka Mrs. Fred Reynolds)

Author of mystery and romance novels from the 1880s to 1930s; titles include As Flows the River (1911), The Woman Flinches (1913), Miss Anne Tankerton (1926), The Loram Picture (1930), and Green Stockings (1933).

KATHLYN RHODES (1877-1962)

Sister of Hylda Ball; author of children's fiction, mysteries, and more than fifty romances, often set in exotic locales, including The Lure of the Desert (1916), Desert Lovers (1922), Desert Nocturne (1939), and It Happened in Cairo (1944).

GRACE RHYS (1865-1929)
(née Little)

Children's author, poet, and novelist whose works were often set in Ireland; titles include The Wooing of Sheila (1901), The Bride (1909), The Charming of Estercel (1913), and Eleanor in the Loft (1923).

ALICE RIDLEY (1860-1945)

Author of several melodramatic novels in the early years of the century, including Anne Mainwaring (1901), A Daughter of Jael (1904), and Margery Fytton (1913).

RITA (1856-1938)
(pseudonym of Eliza Margaret Jane Gollan, aka Mrs W. Desmond Humphreys)

Author of romantic novels, including Sheba (1889), which makes use of her time in Australia as a young girl, Peg the Rake (1894), a bestseller, Souls (1903), a satire of the "smart set," and a Victorian trilogy—Grandmother (1927), The Wand'ring Darling (1928), and Jean and Jeanette (1929).

Gertrude Page, author of well-received
novels about life in Rhodesia


  1. Mary Pendered is a good writer! her early novel "An Englishman" (1899) published in US as "Michael Rolfe, Englishman" is excellent--rural life and manners. In that, as in "Lily Magic" (1913) she writes with social conscience and wit, too. Her ghost story "Uncanny House" (1927) is her most widely available work. Very nicely done. Most of her novels are impossible to get today.

    1. It was difficult to tell much about Pendered from the OCEF entry for her, so I'm glad to have input from someone who has read her. I'm adding your comments to my database for future reference. Thanks so much, this is great to know!


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