Jeffery Farnol

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John Jeffery Farnol
Born(1878-02-10)10 February 1878
Aston, Birmingham, England
Died9 August 1952(1952-08-09) (aged 74)
Eastbourne, England
Pen nameJeffery Farnol
SpouseBlanche Wilhelmina Victoria Hawley (1900–1938),
Phyllis Mary Clarke (1938–1952)

Jeffery Farnol (10 February 1878 – 9 August 1952) was a British writer from 1907 until his death in 1952, known for writing more than 40 romance novels, often set in the Georgian Era or English Regency period, and swashbucklers. He, with Georgette Heyer, largely initiated the Regency romantic genre.


Personal life[edit]

John Jeffery Farnol was born in Aston, Birmingham, UK, the son of Henry John Farnol, a factory-employed brass-founder, and Kate Jeffery. He had two brothers and a sister.[1] His childhood was spent in London and Kent. He attended the Westminster School of Art after losing his job with a Birmingham metal-working company.

In 1900, he married Blanche Wilhelmina Victoria Hawley (1883–1955), the 16-year-old daughter of noted New York scenic artist H. Hughson Hawley. They relocated to the United States, where he found work as a scene painter. They had daughter Gillian Hawley. He returned to England about 1910, and settled in Eastbourne, Sussex. During 1938, he divorced Blanche and married Phyllis Mary Clarke on 20 May, and adopted her daughter Charmian Jane.[2] His nephew was Ewart Oakeshott, the British illustrator, collector, and amateur historian, who wrote on medieval arms and armour.

Farnol died on 9 August 1952 at age 74 in Eastbourne after a long struggle with cancer.

Writing career[edit]

Farnol published his first romance novel, My Lady Caprice, in 1907. The success of his early novels led Farnol to become a professional writer. He produced about 40 novels and volumes of stories, and some non-fiction and children's books. His last book was completed by his second wife Phyllis.

This moderate success was followed by ‘The Broad Highway’, a publishing sensation, which became the best-selling book of 1911 in the world.

Two of his early books, The Amateur Gentleman and The Broad Highway, have been issued in a version edited by romance novelist Barbara Cartland. The Amateur Gentleman was adapted for British cinema in 1920 and 1936, and for American cinema in 1926.


Film adaptations[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Pat Bryan (2002), Farnol: The Man Who Wrote Best-Sellers, Writers Club Press.
  2. ^ James Vinson; D. L. Kirkpatrick, Farnol: Twentieth-Century Romance and Gothic Writers, Cengage Gale

External links[edit]

Electronic editions[edit]