Jean Bowden was born in Edinburgh in 1920. She started her career in 1957 at Panther Books, where she was an editorial assistant. This was followed by positions at Four Square Books and Armada Books. In the 1960s Jean worked on two women’s magazines. She was a features writer on Woman’s Mirror in the early ’60s, and then assistant fiction editor of Woman’s Own. In 1971 she began a long stint as an editorial consultant for Mills & Boon.
Over a long writing career, Jean wrote novels in differrent genres, using a number of pseudonyms. As Belinda Dell she wrote romances for Mills & Boon. Her novels written under the name Lee Mackenzie included tie-in paperbacks for television series The Brothers and Emmerdale Farm.
Jean is arguably best known for the gripping family sagas she wrote as Tessa Barclay. These stories were rich in historical detail and often included cameos by real historical figures. She also wrote as Barbara Annandale, Jocelyn Barry, Jennifer Bland and Avon Curry.
Using her own name, Jean wrote a celebrated history of the nursing sisters of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) during World War II. First published to great success and acclaim in 1959 as Grey Touched with Scarlet, it was reissued in 2015 as Nurses at War, when it achieved bestseller status in the ebook sales charts.
Jean Bowden lived in London for many years, and was president of Croydon Writers Group. She died, aged 96 in 2016.
Read Jean Bowden’s books in exclusive ebook editions from Wyndham Books:
Nurses at War (as Jean Bowden)