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Barbara Allen

A pseudonym used by Vivian Stuart

Violet Vivian Finlay was born in Rangoon, Burma (now also known as Myanmar). She was the daughter of Alice Kathleen (Norton) and Sir Campbell Kirkman Finlay, the owner and director of Burmah Oil Company Ltd., whose Scottish family also owned James Finlay and Company Ltd.. Her youth mostly was spent in Burma and India, and during her life, she frequently journeyed between Rangoon, Singapore, Java and Sumatra.

Although Vivian is well-known by the surname of Stuart, she married third times during her lifetime, and had four children: Gillian Rushton, Jennifer Gooch, and the twins: Vary and Valerie Stuart. She studied medicine at the University of London and obtained a pathologist qualification at the University of Budapest in 1938. Emigrated to Australia with her second husband, an Hungarian Doctor who she worked with. In 1942, she obtained a diploma in industrial chemistry and laboratory technique at Technical Institute of Newcastle. Joined the Australian Forces during World War II and was attached to the IVth Army. Was later transferred to British XIV Army in Burma. On 24 October 1958, she married her third husband, Cyril William Mann, a banker.

She was a prolific writer from 1953 to 1986 under diferent pseudonyms: Vivian Stuart, Alex Stuart, Barbara Allen, Fiona Finlay, V. A. Stuart, William Stuart Long and Robyn Stuart. Her novel, Gay Cavalier published in 1955 as Alex Stuart got her into trouble with her Mills & Boon editors when she featured a secondary story line featuring a Catholic male and Protestant female who chose to marry. This so-called "mixed marriage" touched nerves in the United Kingdom. In 1960, she founded the Romantic Novelists' Association and also was the first elected Chairman (1961-1963).

Violet Vivian Mann passed away in York on August, 1986, at age 72. She continued writing until her death.

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