Avril Horner
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Becoming Comyns
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Barbara returns to London in 1942 to join Price in a house-conversion venture. They live in the basement flat of a building in Primrose Hill while the rest is being turned into flats. They then convert the adjoining house into flats and the shared income from seven flats now gives Barbara financial independence. Barbara and Price then move to a house in Hampstead where she keeps chickens in the back garden. She starts drafting Mr Fox and writing about her marriage to John Pemberton. In 1943 she decides to buy her own house so that her divorce proceedings are not compromised by living with Price. In 15 Greville Place, a large house, she breeds poodles, becomes an antique dealer and runs a piano restoration business. She begins to separate emotionally from Price and takes other lovers, including an art gallery owner. Now that she is no longer living with Price, Diana invites her to join them for social events. One evening, during a theatre visit with them, she meets Richard Comyns Carr, who comes from a distinguished family and works for MI6 with Graham Greene and Kim Philby. He and Barbara fall in love. Barbara is now writing short stories and in 1944 she sends her childhood memoir out to publishers. Sisters by a River is serialized during 1945–46 in the magazine Lilliput. Barbara obtains her decree absolute in August 1945 and she receives three proposals of marriage. She accepts Richard Comyns Carr and they marry that month.

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Barbara Comyns

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