Willett, Marcia 1945- (Willa Marsh)
WILLETT, Marcia 1945- (Willa Marsh)
PERSONAL: Born August 6, 1945, in Somerset, England; married a naval officer (divorced); married; husband's name, Rodney (a writer and broadcaster); children: (first marriage), one son.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Second Time Around, Thorndike Press (Thorndike, ME), 1998.
The Dipper, Thorndike Press (Thorndike, ME), 1999.
Holding On: The Chadwick Family Chronicles, Headline (London, England), 1999.
Starting Over, Thorndike Press (Thorndike, ME), 1999.
(Under pseudonym Willa Marsh) The Quick and the Dead, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1999.
Forgotten Laughter, Hodder Headline (London, England), 2002, published as, A Summer in the Country, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
A Week in Winter, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Marcia Willett is a British writer of contemporary women's fiction. She was born in Somerset, England, in 1945, the youngest of five sisters. Her family was largely musical, but Willett decided to become a ballet dancer. As she matured, however, her body did not suit the demands of the Royal Ballet, and she decided to become a ballet teacher instead of a performer. She taught at a dance academy run by one of her sisters before becoming a writer.
Willett's second husband, Rodney, is a writer and broadcaster and he encouraged Willett to try her hand at writing novels in 1982 when he was commissioned to write a book on sailing. This assignment required the couple to live on board their ketch for twelve months, and during this time Willett began to write novels.
Forgotten Laughter—published in the United States as A Summer in the Country—tells the story of Brigid Foster, whose elderly mother comes to stay with her at her rustic home. Brigid's peace and quiet disappears, and then long-standing tensions between mother and daughter heat up, fueled by Brigid's belief that her mother has always favored her sister, Jemima. However, when two murders occur close to the cottage, the two women are drawn together. When they encounter a visitor who seems to have a terrifying secret, they must rely on each other.
A Week in Winter stars Maudie Todhunter, an independent and energetic widow who decides to put one of her two homes, a country estate called Moorgate, up for sale. Various would-be buyers appear: Maudie's nasty stepdaughter Selina; building contractor Rob Abbott, who restored the estate; and Melissa Clayton, who is hiding a sad secret but who finds the old estate soothing. The story moves between past and present, unearthing patterns of lies and betrayals. In Booklist, Kathleen Hughes called the book "enjoyable" and praised Willett's use of humor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2002, Kathleen Hughes, review of A Week in Winter, p. 1053; May 1, 2003, Kathleen Hughes, review of A Summer in the Country, p. 1582.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of A Week in Winter, p. 452.
Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Carol J. Bissett, review of A Week in Winter, p. 136.
Observer (London, England), July 16, 1995, Maureen Freely, review of Those Who Serve,p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2002, review of A Week in Winter, p. 44.*