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The Other Elizabeth Taylor

by Nicola Beauman

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A Well Full of Leaves
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448pp

ISBN 9781906462109

This is the first biography of one of the most important English writers of the last century. Betty Coles became Elizabeth Taylor upon her marriage in 1936. Her first novel At Mrs Lippincote's appeared in the same year (1945) as the actress Elizabeth Taylor was starring in National Velvet and began her ascent to stardom. Meanwhile, over the next thirty years, 'the other Elizabeth Taylor' lived and worked in Buckinghamshire and published a dozen novels, including Angel, A Game of Hide and Seek, Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, as well as numerous short stories.

Nicola Beauman's biography draws on a wealth of hitherto undiscovered material and, according to the Guardian, "Beauman has written an elegant biography for an elegant writer, with the result that even the boring bits of Taylor's life - when she is being a good wife and mother and dinner is always on the table - whip along charmingly. She is especially good on Taylor's influences: Virginia Woolf, Compton-Burnett and EM Forster."

As well as The Other Elizabeth Taylor, Nicola Beauman is also the author of A Very Great Profession: The Woman's Novel 1914-39 (1983), Cynthia Asquith (1987) and Morgan: a Life of EM Forster (1993). In 1999, she founded Persephone Books.

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