Title: Wild Mary - A Life of Mary Wesley
Authors: Marnham, Patrick
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 289
Year: 2006
Language: English
Description: Novelist Mary Wesley was born in 1912 into a privileged family, but lived an unconventional life. From rebellion to free living, Mary's bohemian existence provided much of the basis for her successful novels, the first being published when she was 70. This meticulously researched biography conveys the essence of a spirited and fascinating woman, aptly named 'Wild Mary', living through changing and challenging times.

Comments from Groups:

Mixed reaction, we decided that P Marnham had pulled Mary's story together well. Te Anau 001.

The majority enjoyed the book but thought there was a lot of repetition. Inspired some members to re-read Mary's books. Picton 001.

A variety of opinions - too much detail for some. Fascinating glimpse into a particular section of society. Good discussion over a wide ranging set of issues. Christchurch 095.

Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Literature oriented, England


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By: MOTUE 008 2021-11-09 17:38:42
This was not a good choice for us. Most didn't read it, only two finished it and found it hard going, too detailed, although there was some enjoyment of reading about several incidents in Mary's life.

By: CHCH 194 2020-12-03 10:47:41
Not a popular book. Discussion focussed on different values in a different era - especially with war time challenges and fears.

By: PIOPIO 001 2020-07-23 19:53:10
Most in our group found the book a little tedious, disjointed, perhaps unnessarily long and particularly the society aspects didn't interest. Interesting commentary of society and attitudes at the time. Those who persevered found the second half a lot more interesting as Mary settled down in her senior years to become a prolific writer.

By: ASHH 001 2019-07-16 15:00:06
half the group liked it, the other half thought it was too long. Biographer had a great deal of detail. We liked the description of wartime London and England. Now we want to read 'The Camomile Lawn'.

By: CHCH 099 2019-07-16 14:56:07
The female members of the group who grew up in England enjoyed the book, as many of the events and Mary's family friends they could recall from media/gossip in their younger days. 3 male members did not finish the book - "not my kind of thing" being the predominant comment. We all found it quite daunting that Patrick Marnham had done so much research to verify Mary's version of events/dates etc.

By: TAUR 005 2019-07-16 14:52:17
There was mixed reaction to the book. Some of us were fascinated and enjoyed the insight to Mary's life. Others found the detail tedious and were mildly irritated by the 'name dropping"! Good discussion.

By: CHCH 088 2019-07-16 14:47:31
Most enjoyed it - found it a very interesting social history. A couple wondered if it was all true! A very interesting woman. Most want to read her novels.

By: AUCK 271 2019-07-16 14:45:22
Our group found this book hard going, and no one finished reading it but skipped through. If the author had been a woman, it may have had more readability. Mary Wesley was a fantastic story teller and led a rather sad and strange life, and we would rather have heard her voice. Although we do agree her novels were very much portraying that.

By: WHITBY 002 2019-07-16 14:42:56
A vast amount of research resulting in a very informative book that read almost like one of her novels - easy to see the connections! Interesting details of the life and times of a privileged class. All the "names" and lovers at times became tedious, but on the whole we felt pleased to have read the book.

By: AKAR 005 2019-07-16 14:40:28
Great book. Lively, interesting and spirited. Liberating to read of a different era.

By: DUNED 058 2019-07-16 14:37:46
An extraordinary and fascinating life. But we found the print too small.

By: MARTIN 003 2019-07-16 14:36:58
Great discussion about Mary, her generation, her life, her loves, and her novels. Although many of the group felt that the book was overloaded with detail, we all enjoyed it and found ourselves amazed ,amused and shocked by different elements and episodes. Really enjoyable discussion.

By: AUCK 273 2019-07-16 14:34:21
Mixed views - some enjoyed the insight into Mary Wesley's life, especially those who are fans of her work. Others found the biographer's style very dry.

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