Biographical Information:

Dates: 1919-1993Dates in Ridgefield: ?-1993
fiction, nonfiction, biography
A long-ago world of English royalty fascinated Mary Luke, a meticulous and critically acclaimed novelist and biographer whose specialty was the wives and children of Henry VIII. Between 1967 and 1986, she wrote seven books on Elizabethan and Tudor royalty, all well received by The New York Times and other reviewers. Mrs. Luke researched her subjects thoroughly, visiting the places where the characters lived, reading their letters and journals, and viewing sites where dramatic episodes in her books took place. Born Mary Munger in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Mrs. Luke graduated from Berkshire Business School and worked in advertising and for documentary film companies before finding herself as a writer. Her first books (Catherine the Queen, A Crown for Elizabeth; Gloriana: The Years of Elizabeth I) chronicled the often complex relationships among the legitimate daughters of Henry VIII. Subsequent books covered such people as Lady Jane Grey (The Nine Days Queen) and even a castle loved by Elizabeth (The Nonsuch Lure). A Ridgefielder for nearly 40 years, Mrs. Luke was president of the Ridgefield Library and a longtime board member. She also worked for the District Nursing Association, and the Thrift Shop, and was active in the conservation efforts of both the Ridgefield and Caudatowa Garden Clubs, often writing letters to officials and The Ridgefield Press about local issues affecting the environment. She died in 1993 at the age of 74.
Titles (partial):Catherine the Queen: A Biography of Catherine of Aragon, First Wife of Henry VIII, 1967A Crown for Elizabeth, 1970Gloriana: The Years of Elizabeth I, 1973The Ivy Crown: A Biographical Novel of Queen Katherine Parr, Last Wife of Henry VIII, 1984Nine Days a Queen: A Portrait of Lady Jane Grey, 1988
--Sources: Notable Ridgefielders–Jack Sanders; New York Times obit, November 25, 1993