Elizabeth Jeffrey

Author of historical novels 

New book in April 2009 – see below

Better known locally as Olive Whaley, she was born and grew up in Wivenhoe, the village of her parents and grandparents. 

She went to school first at Wivenhoe Council School in School Lane (as it was called then and which is now the Wivenhoe Centre in Phillip Road) and afterwards at Colchester County High School, where although she had an aptitude for writing essays, she had no ambition towards writing, her main interest being in music, especially the piano. Nowadays this interest is mainly channelled into singing in the church choir. 

She is married to Jeff Whaley, another ‘local’ who spent his working life restoring antique furniture. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Far from being born with a quill in her hand, Elizabeth didn’t start serious writing until after her children were born, beginning with short stories – on the premise that not so much paper was wasted if they were rejected! However, luckily most of them ‘stuck’ and after having a hundred or so published or broadcast she won first prize in a short story competition run by the Daily Express, which led to an invitation to write for Mills & Boon. This was a useful stepping stone and after publishing five titles for them she moved on to writing historical novels. 

Her third novel, Cassie Jordan,was short-listed for Angel Prize for East Anglian writers and later The Buttercup Fields (under the title. The Chair Mender,)was short-listed for the very first Catherine Cookson prize. (Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!).

Since Strangers Hall was published in 1988, she has written a further 15 novels. 

Elizabeth Jeffrey�s new novel THE THIRTEENTH CHILD is due to be published by Severn House in April 2009.

Set locally in the 1890�s it is the story of Jemima, the unexpected and unwanted thirteenth child of a drunken slattern of a mother who is brought up in poverty, whilst her twin, Sophie is taken to live nearby with a doting aunt. Jemima knows Sophie doesn�t like her because she is the clever one and is determined to become a school teacher. But then Sophie needs her help. Must she sacrifice everything for the sake of her twin?

This is Elizabeth Jeffrey�s 17th novel.

Elizabeth Jeffrey  

Left: Elizabeth Jeffrey signing copies of her last book, Travelers’ Inn at the Wivenhoe Bookshop on 7th December 2006 

For a complete list of novels with a synopsis on each Click here

Note: Publishers of Elizabeth Jeffrey’s books has been Judy Piatkus (Publishers) Ltd of 5 Windmill Street, London W1T 2JA. Severn House will be publishers in the future.