Joan Selby-Lowndes was educated at Wycombe Abbey and St Stephen’s College, Folkestone. She studied French at university, and took her Licence-en-Lettres at the Institut Francais de Lille at de Paris. She translated several French works, including some by René Guillot. During the war, Joan Selby-Lowndes served as a major in the ATS, and was mentioned in dispatches. She wrote about what she knew: she spent some years teaching at the Italia Conti Stage School, and most of her fictional works involve performing in some way or other: ballet, film and the circus all feature.
Her first book, Mail Coach, is mostly about Richard, who is desperate to ride in Astley’s Circus in London. Once his father buys a talented grey pony, Richard’s mind is made up, and he runs away. Family Star is about pantomime: Jenny loves the family pony, Kitty, who helps the family earn its living by pulling a flower cart, but when she is lamed, it looks as if disaster looms, but Jenny’s theatrical talents save the day.
Joan Selby-Lowndes kept a horse-drawn caravan and pony, who perhaps inspired Kitty, and she wrote a non-fiction book about her travels: Home with a Horse.
Finding the books
Family Star is reasonably easy to find; Home with a Horse is easiest to find in its Large Print incarnation, but turns up frequently as a paperback too. Mail Coach is easy to find.
Sources and links
Dustjacket of Family Star