Desiree Hamersley (Zena Meyler)

Desiree Hamersley (Zena Meyler)

Author (1919 - 1989)

Desiree Meyler was born into a Pembrokeshire family in west Wales and started writing stories just as soon as she could hold a pen. She also showed a prodigious artistic talent from an early age, and in 1938/1939 studied at the School of Art, Cambridge, where she was a direct contemporary of Ronald Searle, who became a world renowned artist and cartoonist. However, the outbreak of war in 1939 changed the course of Desiree’s career; she became, during the 1960s, a prolific writer of short stories published all over the world in magazines, and also contributed to BBC Radio Four’s ‘Morning Story’.

The 1970s saw her develop from short story writer to novelist, often set against a Yorkshire family background (where she subsequently lived) but also drawing on her experiences of pre-war and wartime Cambridge. Unknown to her at the time, her brother-in-law Ralph Bennett was Duty Officer in Hut 3 at Bletchley Park. In the 1980s, as author Zena Meyler, she moved on to family sagas – Shadows on the Ice set in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, and Flower of the Forest set at the time of the First World War. Just a week before she died in 1989, she completed Bitter Harvest, the unpublished sequel to Flower of the Forest, following the experiences of the same family through and beyond the Second World War. Her fluid story telling, combined with her scrupulous historical research, was the hallmark of her writing success.


Titles Under the Name of Desiree Meyler
The Quiet Rebel (1970)
Fled Is That Music (1971)
The Honey Harvest (1971)
The Gods Are Just (1973)
The Green Days (1974)
Lucifer’s Son (1976)
Chant Pour Un Depart (1976)
Temper The Wind (1978)
Forget Tomorrow (1981)

Titles Under the Name of Zena Meyler
Shadows On the Ice (1993)
As Tre Sostre (1988)
Flower of The Forest (1988)
Bitter Harvest (1989)