Florence Marryat, 1833-1899

Portrait

Biographical note

British author and actress.

Marryat was born in Brighton, Sussex, in 1833, daughter of author and naval Captain Frederick Marryat and his wife, Catherine (nee Shairp). Her parents separated when Marryat was young; her childhood was divided between her parents' residences, where she was privately educated. Shortly before her 21st birthday, she wed Thomas Ross Church, an officer in the Madras staff corps of the British Army in India; they spent the first seven years of their married life travelling India extensively before she returned to England in 1860 without her husband, who apparently visited only occasionally. She had eight children with Church, three of them while in India. By the mid-1870s Marryat was an internationally successful author and was living together with her future husband, Colonel Francis Lean of the Royal Marine Light Infantry. Church eventually sued for divorce in 1878, citing his wife’s adultery as the grounds. Marryat and her husband divorced in 1879; later that year, she wed Colonel Lean, but they divorced only a year later, in 1880.

Marryat wrote her first novel, Love’s Conflict (1865), while her young children were suffering from scarlet fever, to distract herself from “sad thoughts”. The novel met with modest success and was followed by Too Good for Him and Woman Against Woman in the same year. In 1872, she wrote a biography of her father, Life and Letters of Captain Marryat. From 1872 to 1876, in addition to writing for newspapers and magazines, she edited the monthly magazine London Society.

From 1876 to 1877, she collaborated with George Grossmith, writing and performing a comic touring entertainment called Entre Nous ("Between you and me").

At the age of 43, in 1881, Marryat returned to the stage, playing the role of Hephzibah Horton in a drama she wrote based on her novel Her World Against a Lie. The next year, she joined a D'Oyly Carte Opera Company touring company in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, playing the role of Lady Jane. In 1884 she played Queen Altemire in a revival of W. S. Gilbert's fairy comedy The Palace of Truth in London with Herbert Beerbohm Tree. She later appeared in her own one-woman show, Love Letters, and appeared as a lecturer, dramatic reader and public entertainer. She continued performing until 1890, when she played Cassandra Doolittle in an operetta called The Dear Departed.

In 1886, Marryat wrote a lighthearted book about her travels in the United States called Tom Tiddler's Ground.

During the 1890s, Marryat ran a school of Journalism and Literary Art. She continued writing for the rest of her life, and some of her best known books were her late-career writings on spiritualism.

Works

Novels

  • Love’s Conflict [1865]
  • Too Good for Him [1865] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Woman Against Woman [1865] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • For Ever and Ever [1866]
  • The Confessions of Gerald Estcourt [1867]
  • Nelly Brooke – A Homely Story [1868] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Girls of Feversham [1869]
  • Véronique. A romance [1869] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Petronel [1870]
  • Her Lord and Master [1871]
  • The Prey of the Gods [1871] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Mad Dumaresq [1873]
  • No Intentions [1874]
  • Fighting the Air [1875]
  • Open! Sesame! [1875]
  • Her Father’s Name [1876]
  • My Own Child [1876]
  • A Harvest of Wild Oats [1877]
  • A Little Stepson [1878]
  • Her World Against a Lie [1878]
  • Written in Fire [1878]
  • A Broken Blossom [1879] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Root of All Evil [1879]
  • Out of His Reckoning [1879]
  • The Fair-Haired Alda [1880]
  • My Sister the Actress [1881] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • With Cupid’s Eye [1881]
  • Facing the Footlights [1882]
  • How They Loved Him [1882] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Phyllida [1882] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Peeress and Player [1883]
  • The Heart of Jane Warner [1884]
  • Under the Lillies and Roses [1884]
  • The Heir Presumptive [1885]
  • Miss Harrington’s Husband (reissue of The Spiders of Society) [1886]
  • The Master Passion [1886]
  • The Spiders of Society [1886]
  • A Daughter of the Tropics [1887]
  • Driven to Bay [1887] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • A Crown of Shame [1888] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • Gentleman and Courtier [1888]
  • Mount Eden [1889]
  • On Circumstantial Evidence [1889] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • A Scarlet Sin [1890]
  • Blindfold [1890]
  • Brave Heart and True [1890]
  • A Fatal Silence [1891] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Risen Dead [1891] vol. 1 vol. 2
  • The Lost Diamonds (with Charles Ogilvie) [1891]
  • How Like a Woman [1892]
  • The Nobler Sex [1892]
  • Parson Jones [1893]
  • A Bankrupt Heart [1894] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Beautiful Soul [1894]
  • The Hampstead Mystery [1894] vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Dead Man’s Message – An Occult Romance [1894]
  • At Heart a Rake [1895]
  • The Dream that Stayed [1896]
  • The Strange Transfiguration of Hannah Stubbs [1896]
  • A Passing Madness [1897]
  • In the Name of Liberty [1897]
  • The Blood of the Vampire [1897]
  • A Soul on Fire (UK edition of The Dead Man’s Message) [1898]
  • An Angel of Pity [1898]
  • Why Did She Love Him? [1898]
  • A Rational Marriage [1899]
  • Iris the Avenger [1899]
  • The Folly of Alison [1899]

Short story collections

  • Captain Norton’s Diary and other stories (only the title story is Marryat's) [1870]
  • A Lucky Disappointment and other stories [1876]
  • A Star and a Heart [1876]
  • Hidden Chains (3 vols., including The Poison of Asps, A Star and a Heart, and A Lucky Disappointment) [1876]
  • The Poison of Asps [1876]
  • A Moment of Madness and other stories [1883]
    A moment of madness -- Captain Norton's Diary -- Old Contrairy -- 'Sent to his death!'
    vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3
  • The Ghost of Charlotte Cray and other stories [1883]
  • Old Contrairy and other stories [1884]
  • The Luckiest Girl in Yorkshire and other stories [1907]
  • The Box with the Iron Clamps

Children’s stories

  • Sybil’s Friend and How She Found Him [1873]
  • The Little Marine and the Japanese Lily [1891]

Collaborations

  • Twenty Novelettes [1889]
  • The Fate of Fenella (with 23 other authors) [1892]
  • Seven Xmas Eves Being the Romance of a Social Revolution [1894]
  • The Summer Holiday [1898]

Plays

  • Miss Chester [1871]

Memoirs

  • Gup – Sketches of Anglo-Indian Life [1868]
  • Life and Letters of Captain Marryat [1872] vol. 1 vol. 2
  • Tom Tiddler’s Ground [1886]

Spiritualism

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