Elizabeth Jane Howard, author of ‘Cazalet Chronicles,’ dies at 90

January 5

Elizabeth Jane Howard, an author who was best known for “The Cazalet Chronicles,” the saga of several generations of an aristocratic British household, died Jan. 2 at her home in Bungay, England. She was 90.

Jacqui Graham, her friend and publicist, confirmed her death. No details about the cause were immediately available.

Ms. Howard’s whirlwind life saw her write 15 novels, model, act, broadcast and much more. One of her three husbands was the celebrated novelist Kingsley Amis.

Many of Ms. Howard’s books were critical successes, but she gained her greatest acclaim late in her career with “The Cazalet Chronicles,” a series of five novels that began with “The Light Years,” published in 1990.

The “Chronicles” followed the tangled lives and loves of several generations of an aristocratic household in the English countryside in the years before, during and after World War II. The final volume, “All Change,” was published in November. The BBC aired a serial dramatization of the earlier books in 2001.

In her candid autobiography, “Slipstream” (2002), Ms. Howard said the Cazalet family was modeled after her own.

Elizabeth Jane Howard was born in London on March 26, 1923. She had little formal education, but she read voraciously and wrote a play when she was 14.

Her first novel, “The Beautiful Visit” (1950), a prize-winning coming-of-age story set during and after World War I, put her at the center of Britain’s literary world. She also received plaudits for “Mr. Wrong,” a 1975 collection of short stories about the lives of London women in the 1960s.

At age 19, she married Peter Scott, a renowned naturalist. They had a daughter, but Ms. Howard left her husband and daughter in the late 1940s. She later had a close relationship with her daughter and four grandchildren.

Her second marriage was to Australian writer and broadcaster James Douglas-Henry. She married Amis, the author of “Lucky Jim” and many other novels, in 1965. They divorced in 1983.

Ms. Howard also admitted to affairs with other literary figures, including Arthur Koestler and the poets Lawrence “Laurie” Lee and Cecil Day-Lewis.

Writer Martin Amis, Kingsley Amis’s son from his first marriage, credited Ms. Howard with directing him toward reading Jane Austen and other classic authors as he embarked on his own career.

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