Flora MacDonald Mayor, known as F.M. Mayor, was born in Surrey in October 1872, read History at Newnham College, Cambridge, and died in London in 1932. Her father, Joseph Bickersteth Mayor, was an Anglican clergyman and Professor of both Classics and Moral Philosophy at King’s College London.
Flora had two older brothers, Robert and Henry, and a twin sister named Alice. Once she had finished her degree, Flora turned to acting, and then to writing; her first book, a collection of short stories was published under the pseudonym of Mary Strafford in 1902. Her fiance, the architect Ernest Shepherd, died of typhoid before the two could be married, and she thus lived closely with her twin sister.
In October 2009, the BBC’s Open Book programme called her 1924 novel, The Rector’s Daughter, one of the best ‘neglected classics’.
“And perhaps she loved him all the more because he was not soaring high above her, like all her previous divinities, but walking side by side with her. Yes, she loved him; by the time he had asked her for the third dance she loved him.”
(From The Third Miss Symons)
- The Rector’s Daughter (1924)
- The Third Miss Symons (1913)
- The Squire’s Daughter (1929