Monday, January 21, 2019

Mrs. Jack McLaren

Mrs. Jack McLaren (b. Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia, 1887; d. London, 3 April 1946)

Born Ada Elizabeth McKenzie, she was the daughter of William Kenneth McKenzie (1850-1920), a merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née Stoker (1854-1930).  She had six brothers and three sisters.

On 21 February 1912, she married Captain Edmund Fox Moore (1884-1917), the oldest son of Notley Moore (1858-1922), the Chief Police Magistrate of Melbourne.  Her husband was killed in battle in Flanders in World War I.  They had three sons.

On 19 August 1924, she married the Melbourne writer John McLaren (1887-1954), who published as Jack McLaren.  In 1925 the couple moved to London, which remained their base for the rest of their lives.

She published her one novel Which Hath Been (London: Cecil Palmer, 1926) bylined as by "Mrs. Jack McLaren."  It is, as it is subtitled, a novel of reincarnation. The young London artist Patricia Leigh meets some benefactors who tell her she is the reincarnation of a Syrian woman from two thousand years earlier.  She is given to read a manuscript of a tragic love story, titled "Karan the Syrian," and this text takes up about half of the novel, before the plot returns to modern times where Patricia is able to atone for the mistakes of her previous incarnation in her present situation. The metaphysical blather is overdone, and the romance aspect is paramount. A "second edition, new and revised" of Which Hath Been was published by Philip Allan in 1936, and the blurb on the front flap of the dust-wrapper signals the intended audience: "the book, with its emotional intensity, should strongly appeal to every woman."

Mrs. Jack McLaren died at the Homeopathic Hospital in Great Ormand Street, London.

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