Amber Reeves was perhaps most famous for her relationship with H.G. Wells, but her life in itself was fascinating. Born in New Zealand in July 1887, the eldest child of Fabian feminist Maud Pember Reeves, and William Pember Reeves, the politician and social reformer.
The family moved to England when Amber was nine, and she saw it as ‘hateful after New Zealand… No freedom. No seashore. Streets, streets, streets. Houses, houses.’ She studied at Newnham College, Cambridge, and founded the Cambridge University Fabian Society in 1906, where both sexes met as equals. Amber Reeves bore a daughter, Anna-Jane, in December 1909; she did not learn that H.G. Wells was her father until she was eighteen years old. Her career involved both politics and teaching, and she died in London in December 1981, after being admitted to hospital in St John’s Wood.
All of her work – four novels and four volumes of non-fiction – shares a common feminist and socialist critique of capitalism.
“She seemed determined to be human also; to like people, even though they were stupid.”
(Virginia Woolf on Amber Reeves)
- The Reward of Virtue (1911)
- A Lady and her Husband (1914)
- Helen in Love (1916)
- Give and Take: A Novel of Intrigue (1923)
- The Nationalisation of Banking (1934)
- The New Propaganda (1938)
- Worry in Women (1941)
- Ethics for Unbelievers (1949)
– Margaret Drabble’s discussion of Amber Reeves as a feminist author can be found here.
– An interesting review of A Man of Parts by David Lodge, which focuses upon H.G. Wells, can be read here.