Tinder Press has acquired Letters from a Suitcase, a collection of letters spanning the "short but passionate love affair" and marriage between communist couple David and Mary Francis during the Second World War.
Mary, from Ireland, was a secretary at Bletchley Park and David a young officer in action on the other side of the world, who both joined the Communist Party. Their letters span 1938 until David Francis' early death in India five years later in 1943. They are edited by their daughter, Rosheen Finnigan, who never knew her father, with her husband Cal (pictured).
Mary was 21 years-old when she came to London from Ireland in 1938, and fell in love with privately-educated 19-year-old David. The letters between them chorincle their "longing" for one another, their marriage against the wishes of David’s parents, and, finally, Mary’s experience of bringing up a baby alone.
Tinder Press says the collection of letters tells the story of "a short but rich, rewarding and colourful love, written with vivacity and honesty", as well as providing a social history and insight into the father its editor never knew.
Imogen Taylor, publishing director at Tinder Press, acquired world rights to Letters from the Suitcase from Luigi Bonomi at LBA.
Taylor said: "I fell in love with these letters from the first; they are so incredibly vivid and detailed about their secret marriage, David’s membership of the Communist Party, Mary’s experiences at Bletchley Park and his experiences of war. They are evocative and poignant, and highlight the lives of two remarkable young people."
Rosheen and Cal Finnigan are now both retired. Rosheen, born in London, worked for the Inner London Schools Psychological Service while Cal is a former Guardian journalist.
Tinder Press will publish Letters from the Suitcase in June 2017.