Mary, Lady Stewart, née Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow (17 September 1916 – 9 May 2014), was a British novelist who developed the romantic mystery genre, featuring smart, adventurous heroines who could hold their own in dangerous situations. She also wrote children's books and poetry, but may be best known for her Merlin series, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and fantasy.
Mary Stewart was born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow on 17 September 1916 in Sunderland, County Durham, England, UK, daughter of Mary Edith Matthews, from New Zealand, and Frederick Rainbow, a vicar. She graduated from Durham University in 1938 with first-class honours in English. Her original intention to become a professor was derailed by the scarcity of jobs during World War II; she earned a teaching certificate and taught primary school for a while. After the war, she earned her master's degree and became a lecturer in English Language and Literature at the university. She received an honorary D.Litt in 2009. It was in Durham that she met and married her husband, Frederick Stewart, a young Scot who lectured in Geology. They married in 1945, only three months after they met at a VE Day dance. At 30, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy, undiagnosed for several weeks, and subsequently could not have children...
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