Before & After: The Incredible Story of the Real-life Mrs Wilson

Before & After: The Incredible Story of the Real-life Mrs Wilson

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Aged nineteen, Alison McKelvie was a self-confessed romantic, immersed in books and poetry, and dreaming of beauty, truth and love. In 1940, whilst working as a secretary at MI6, Alison met Alexander Wilson. Thirty years her senior, Alexander was worldly and charismatic. An intense affair quickly led to marriage and two children. But the Wilsons' lives then spiralled into the depths of poverty. Alexander was sacked, imprisoned twice, and then declared bankrupt. His lack of reliability was a hefty emotional burden for Alison to bear. Nevertheless, she loved her husband unreservedly and stuck by him through thick and thin.

In 1963, Alexander died suddenly of a heart attack. Alison's world imploded when she discovered that their life together had been built upon layer after layer of deception. Who was Alexander Wilson? How well had Alison really known him? Slowly the lies were unravelled: Alexander had been a novelist, spy and, devastatingly, a bigamist. Alison was the third of four wives, her children two of seven.

The inspiration for critically-acclaimed drama Mrs Wilson, Before & After is the powerful and poignant memoir of Alison Wilson. 'Before' peels back the complex layers of a marriage steeped in lies, and the shattering heartbreak which followed. 'After' tells of an intensely-felt redemption through religion. Before & After is, first and foremost, a love story, but it is also an account of one extraordinarily strong woman's deep, unwavering faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472132345
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 07/04/2019
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 139,680
File size: 985 KB

About the Author

Alison Wilson (née McKelvie) was born in 1920 and raised in Cumbria. She moved to London during the war, where she worked as a secretary in the Intelligence Service. In 1963, Alison converted to Catholicism and studied Catholic theology at Heythrop College, Oxford, gaining the STL (Licenciate in Sacred Theology) and Bachelor of Divinity, the first laywoman to have done so in England. She combined her devotional life with her role as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to an ever-growing family, and lived her latter years in Addlestone, Surrey, where she died aged 84.

She wrote the story of her life in 1986, and disclosed the first half to her sons in 1992, having kept its secrets for thirty years. The second half was discovered only after Alison's death in 2005. Her story was the basis of the three-part drama, Mrs Wilson, in which the role of Alison was played by her granddaughter, actress Ruth Wilson.

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