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Ruby Ferguson

(1899 - 1966)

Ruby Ferguson (nee Ashby) was born in 1899 in Yorkshire. Perhaps being a Yorkshire lass gave her the uncompromising and dryly humourous tone which is seen in the Jill books!
She spent her childhood in Yorkshire, leaving for Oxford to read English in 1919. After her degree she lived in Manchester, working as a secretary and a book reader/reviewer. She began writing detective stories and later thrillers under the name of R. C. Ashby, later writing romantic novels under her married name of Ferguson, the most famous of which being Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary (1937). A romantic novel set in Scotland, which was one of the late Queen Mother's favourite books. This was then followed by the Jill pony series which was written to entertain her young grand-daughters. She also wrote a fictionalised memoir called Children at the Shop.

She is now perhaps best known for the inimitable Jill, who, along with her two ponies Black Boy and Rapide, featured in a series of nine humourous books published from 1947 to 1962. I've yet to meet a reader who does not like the series which has been in print for many years, up to the late 1990s and is soon to be reprinted once again. Unfortunately for her fans, unlike most of the other pony book authors, the Jill series was Ms. Ferguson's only foray into the pony book territory.
Non fiction

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