Ruby M. Ayres
Ayres in September 1933.
Ayres in September 1933.
BornRuby Mildred Ayres
(1881-01-28)28 January 1881
Watford, London, UK
Died14 November 1955(1955-11-14) (aged 74)
Weybridge, Surrey, UK
SpouseReginald William Pocock (1909–40s; his death)

Ruby Mildred Ayres (28 January 1881 – 14 November 1955) was a British romance novelist, "one of the most popular and prolific romantic novelists of the twentieth century".[1]

Personal life

Ayres was born in Watford on 28 January 1881, the third daughter of London-based architect Charles Pryor Ayres and his wife Alice (née Whitford).[1] In 1909 she married insurance broker Reginald William Pocock. She died on 14 November 1955 at home in Weybridge, Surrey, aged 74, of a combination of pneumonia and a cerebral thrombosis. She was cremated four days later at Golders Green in north London.


Ayres stated that she had started to write as a girl, and said that she had been expelled at the age of 15 for the offence of writing what she described as "an advanced love story",[1] although there is no corroboration for her claim. Her first story was published in a magazine shortly after her marriage in 1909, and in 1912 she published her first novel, Castles in Spain. In September 1915, with her first popular success, Richard Chatterton, V.C. (which sold over 50,000 copies in the first three years),[2] she moved publishing houses to Hodder and Stoughton, where she remained until her death in 1955. She wrote over 135 novels over her career, mostly for Hodder, as well as a number of serialised works.

She has been referred to as an "over-productive romance writer",[3] and was possibly an inspiration for the P. G. Wodehouse character Rosie M. Banks.[4] Several of her works became films and she did screenwriting for Society for Sale[5] among others. She also corresponded with Douglas Sladen.[6]

In the late 1930s, she was targeted in a prospective study by W. H. Auden - alongside such figures as John Buchan and Henry Williamson - as representative of the proto-Fascist in English writing,[7] perhaps because of her glorification of the wartime soldier-hero.[8] During the late 1930s, she wrote an advice column in the Oracle, complimented as "extremely sensible" by George Orwell in an essay on the media consumption of the working class.

Partial bibliography



  1. ^ a b c "Ayres, Ruby Mildred". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/45542. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Ruby M. Ayres". Orlando. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  3. ^ Redmond, Moira (27 March 2014). "Bad mothers in books: a literary litany". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Fergusson, James (1 June 2007). "Bibliography – Proofs, firsts and file copies". The Times Literary Supplement (5435): 28.
  5. ^ "Ruby Mildred Ayres Complete Filmography". Turner Classic Movies filmography.
  6. ^ "Guide to the Letters of Ruby M. Ayres, 1921-1923". Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library.
  7. ^ M. Green, The Children of the Sun (London 1977) p. 318
  8. ^ J. Onions, English Fiction and Drama of the Great War (1990) p. 32