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Helen Thomas, author of As It Was and World Without End
Helen Thomas (née Noble) was born in 1877 in a small town between Liverpool and Manchester but was brought up in Wimbledon – her father was a respected literary critic. In 1894 she met and fell in love with Edward Thomas (1878-1917). After her father’s death she left home, was briefly a governess and then was looked after by friends during her (secret) pregnancy. Married in 1899, she and Edward only lived together when he left Oxford in 1900. The family – there were to be three children – moved frequently, with Edward scraping a living as a writer. He enlisted in 1915 and on May 9th 1917, the first day of the Battle of Arras, was killed. Helen, as therapy for her despair, wrote As It Was in 1926. It was a bestseller. World Without End followed in 1931. She lived in Hampstead (near her friend Eleanor Farjeon), thereafter in Berkshire, and died in 1967.