Hely, Sara

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HELY, Sara


Born in London, England; married; children: three daughters, one son.


Home—Ayrshire, Scotland. Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Writer. Has also managed a farm and a fastfood restaurant.


The Legend of the Green Man, Collins (London, England), 1972, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.

The Sign of the Serpent, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.

War Story, Hodder Headline (London, England), 2002, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.


Sara Hely is an author of historical romances. Her debut work, The Legend of the Green Man, is "filled with mystery, intrigue, and double-dealing," according to Library Journal critic Regina Minudri. Set in 1799, The Legend of the Green Man follows the adventures of Lady Kitty Harcombe, a widow who has traveled to Ireland to pursue a wealthy suitor. Lady Kitty soon finds herself caught up in a web of political intrigue that includes the "Green Man," a Robin Hood of sorts for the locals. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the work "an absorbing and romantic first novel."

Hely's 1984 work The Sign of the Serpent "stands head and shoulders above" formulaic romance novels, in the words of Books and Bookmen reviewer Mary Cadogan. When her father commits suicide after incurring huge gambling debts, Dublin schoolteacher Caroline Morrisey is forced to become the governess at Lord Hugo Vale's mansion. Caroline's brother then mysteriously surfaces, claiming that the secretive "Serpent" wants Vale assassinated. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews wrote that The Sign of the Serpent is a "cheerful variation on a weathered plot—with a sensible heroine and just the right infusion of atmospheric murk," while Booklist critic Denise P. Donavik remarked that "Hely provides plenty of intrigue."

War Story, a 2002 novel, is set during World War II. Maggie Dunlop, a nursery maid for the Dulcimer family, is evacuated to America along with her charges when London becomes too dangerous. There she falls in love with David Vorst, though he is already married to the scheming Antonia. David and Maggie are separated when David is called back to London, yet they meet years later when both are on assignment for the Royal Air Force. A contributor in Kirkus Reviews called War Story "an admittedly engaging if often melodramatic tale," and Booklist critic Michele Leber complimented the "entertaining, sprawling World War II story, with its Upstairs, Downstairs feel."



Booklist, October 15, 1984, Denise P. Donavik, review of The Sign of the Serpent, p. 282; May 15, 2003, Michele Leber, review of War Story, pp. 1639-1640.

Books and Bookmen, July, 1984, Mary Cadogan, "Headstrong Heroines," p. 28.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1973, review of The Legend of the Green Man, p. 78; July 15, 1984, review of The Sign of the Serpent, p. 640; April 15, 2003, review of War Story, pp. 558-559.

Library Journal, May 15, 1973, Regina Minudri, review of The Legend of the Green Man, p. 1709.

Publishers Weekly, February 5, 1973, review of The Legend of the Green Man, p. 82; August 3, 1984, review of The Sign of the Serpent, p. 51.

Times Literary Supplement, March 17, 1972, "Awfully Irish," p. 295.


Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (April 12, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of War Story.

Hodder Headline Web site,http://www.hodderheadline.co.uk/ (April 16, 2004), "Sara Hely."*