E. M. Delafield (1890-1943) was born in Sussex. Her mother was also a well-known novelist, writing as Mrs Henry de la Pasture, and Delafield chose her pen-name based on a suggestion by her sister Yoé. A debutante in 1909, Delafield was accepted as a postulant by a French religious order in 1911 but decided against joining, a topic she explores in her novel Consequences (1919).
Delafield worked as a nurse in a Voluntary Aid Detachment following the outbreak of the First World War, and her first novel Zella Sees Herself was written during this time and published in 1917. Diary of a Provincial Lady, her most successful novel, inspired several sequels and is a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Delafield herself, written after a request by the editor of Time and Tide for some 'light middles' in serial form.
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