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Maurice and Maralyn


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About the Author

Sophie Elmhirst is a prizewinning writer for the Guardian Long Read and The Economist's 1843 magazine, and a contributing editor at the Gentlewoman and Harper's Bazaar. In 2020 she won the British Press Award for Feature Writer of the Year; she has also won a Foreign Press Award and been longlisted for the Orwell Prize. She first came across the story of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey researching a piece on our desire to escape. This is her first book. She lives in London.


Electrifying . . . a tender portrait of two unconventional souls blithely defying the conventions of their era and making a break for freedom

An extraordinary survival story… Elmhirst’s reconstruction of their ordeal is riveting, told in illuminating detail
*Sunday Times*

A compelling book about a shipwreck, but also as thoughtful a tale about marriage, for better and worse, as you are likely to read

An amazing tale of survival . . . reminds me how incredibly hard it is to find love out there in the world
*New Statesman*

A gripping tale of maritime catastrophe but also of marriage
*Sunday Times*

An epic story of adventure and survival
*Daily Express*

Superb… Elmhirst is good at evoking an era that feels both familiar and like deep history… you really do hang on to her every word

With its period detail and softly poetic prose, the book melds together the sweet conjugal bonds of a quirky pair with the adrenaline kick of Jaws… It is a remarkable portrait of a marriage kept afloat against the odds
*Financial Times*

Never sentimental and perfectly paced, this is the best sort of story: a true one

A quirky, thrilling and moving tale of a love which proved stronger than starvation, dehydration and the mighty Pacific

Extraordinary . . . Elmhirst is a terrific writer

This dramatic, profound human story is so beautifully told in calm, thoughtful, perfectly judged prose. I really could not put it down
*NINA STIBBE, author of Love, Nina*

A gripping story of survival at sea and a haunting account of the yearning to escape . . . It hasn’t left my mind since I finished it

A beautiful, brilliant book, an exquisitely written piece of non-fiction that reads like a great novel

An exciting, fast-paced, terrifying adventure story, and at the same time a slow, gentle commentary on love
*ALEXANDER MASTERS, author of Stuart: a Life Backwards*

This is a survival story of relentless power, an epic of human resourcefulness, and of the emotional toll taken at last by suffering’s extremity

A beautiful, searing book -- a miniature epic of seafaring and survival with an unbreakable, unusual love story at its heart
*SAM KNIGHT, author of The Premonitions Bureau*

What an astonishing story. And what a sublime piece of writing
*JULIET NICOLSON, author of A House Full of Daughters*

The extraordinary 1973 ordeal of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey comes to life in Sophie Elmhirst’s telling... it speeds along like a novel
*Daily Telegraph*

An unlikely love story wrapped in a dramatic adventure

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