Barbara Noble (1907-2001) was born in North London. From 1914 onwards her family lived in Brighton, where she was taught at home by her mother. She always wanted to be a writer but her first novel was rejected by thirteen publishers; when The Years that Take the Best Away appeared when she was 22 it was a huge critical success. After her second novel came out she moved to London, went to secretarial college and for nearly twenty years worked very happily at 20th Century-Fox, first as a typist, then as a scriptreader and, after 1939, as London story editor buying film rights. Four more novels appeared, including The House Opposite (1943), Doreen (1946) and, her last, Another Man’s Life (1952). From 1953-73 Barbara Noble ran the London office of the American publishing house, Doubleday, becoming one of the most esteemed figures in London publishing and presiding over a very happy all-women office; she continued as a freelance editor after her retirement.