How to be a Merry Widow


This wise, humorous and highly entertaining book brings compassion, pithiness and excellent practical suggestions to the vital task of advising widows how to make themselves merry despite having lost the love of their life. After all, as Mary Essinger points out here in ‘How to be a Merry Widow’…

‘Look on the positive side, no shirts to iron for a start. Rejoice in your independence. You can do exactly as you like; paint the house pink, invite your chain-smoking brother to stay or relocate to anywhere on the planet. Consider the good things about being alone. For the first time in your life you are free. Spoil yourself; spend his money on chocolate and taxis. You’re worth it.

Remove yourself from the place of loneliness, your home. Plan at least one social event every day and plan outings to look forward to. Unless you are dying, staying in all day is a bad idea and will make you morose. You may have demanding things to do in the home but go out at least for some part of the day. Too cold? Wear three coats but go out. Raining? Big umbrella but go out. Not feeling too good? Try fresh air and a walk. Fight any temptation to hide away feeling sorry for yourself.’

Ultimately, Mary urges widows to follow her advice because their dear departed one would want them to be happy. As she says:

‘I wrote  “How to be a Merry Widow” because it’s great to be cheerful and widows should support each other. Being a widow has a positive side and the purpose of this book is to tell you about it.’


About the Author:

Mary Essinger was born in 1932 in Leicester and now lives in Canterbury in Kent. Her other books include Mary, Quite Contrary (2016), also published by The Conrad Press.

James Essinger, principal of The Conrad Press, writes: my beloved mum, Mary Essinger, who was born on December 27 1932, passed away peacefully, aged eighty-seven, on April 29 2020. She had been suffering from severe dementia and was very frail. In her career she was, successively, a dress designer, teacher of Spoken English and writer. Mum was a woman of remarkable intelligence and charisma. She fostered in me my love of books.  She was a wonderful wife to my late father Theodore (1922-2005) and a loving mum to my late brother Rupert (1961-2019) and me. Mum had a very well-lived life and will be much missed by anyone who knew her, and by her readers.