THE LETTERS FROM THE SUITCASE by Rosheen and Cal Finnigan reveals the detailed and poignant wartime romance between David and Mary Francis. For readers of Sheila Hancock's MISS CARTER'S WAR or Helen Simonson's MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND
'I still have that recurring fear of something happening to me before I see you again, and before I can tell you myself just how much and how often I've realised during the last few months that I love you completely and to the exclusion of all others. Remember that, because if there wasn't you, my darling Mary, the world would seem very empty and meaningless.'
Mary and David Francis were only twenty-one and nineteen when they met in 1938. They fell in love instantly, and against the wishes of David's parents, they lived together and married, in secret. These poignant letters reveal their intelligence and thoughtfulness, their passion, the everyday details of their lives working as a secretary at Bletchley Park and as a young officer in action on the other side of the world, and Mary's experience of bringing up a small baby alone in London.
David was to die in India, five years after their first encounter, though his letters continued to reach Mary long after the event. At heart, this is the story of a young couple who were utterly devoted to one another. It is also the story of a father that Rosheen Finnigan never knew but came to love.
Rosheen Finnigan was born in London and obtained a sociology degree from Leeds University where she met her husband, Cal.
They lived for several years in Paris before returning with their two children to London and settling in Islington, where Rosheen worked for the Inner London Schools Psychological Service.
Cal, a journalist, worked at the Guardian for many years. Now retired, they live in Constable Country on the Essex-Suffolk border
'An incredible story'
An enthralling love story, which splices vintage detail with David and Mary's surprisingly frank and modern attitudes on everything from sex to politics