Mary, Quite Contrary


Written with charm and humour, Mary Essinger’s page-turning memoir takes the reader on a highly entertaining journey from her pre-war life of spirited poverty in a Leicestershire village to a career as a lecturer in Spoken English, novelist and stand-up comedian. With a sharp eye for tragedy and a warm appreciation for joy, Mary recounts her wartime life and subsequent life as a dress designer in the economic boom conditions of the 1950s and falling in love with a German Jewish refugee who clicked his heels when he met her family. It’s all here, in Mary, Quite Contrary.

About the Author

Mary Essinger was born in 1932. She attended Coalville’s King Edward V11 Grammar School and after leaving school in 1946 went to work in factories before becoming a dress designer. Mary taught Spoken English for twenty-five years. In 2003 she published her first novel, Wounded Bird of Paradise. In 2007, two years after the death of her husband Ted, she published How to be a Merry Widow: life after death for the older lady. Mary regularly does stand-up comedy in Leicester.

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.