“For the first time, the story of John Steinbeck’s ‘forgotten second wife’, unmentioned in standard editions of classics, such as The Grapes of Wrath. Their 1943 wartime marriage ended when she divorced him in 1948. Smart, adventurous and in love, she at first matched Steinbeck’s zest for ‘on the road’ adventures but was then only too happy to settle down and create a home where he could write. Love and marriage were considered the appropriate vocation for women of her era. Gwyn paid a high price for her involvement with the restless, driven, genious, John Steinbeck. This was a marriage which could not succeed despite her love for Steinbeck, the man and master storyteller.”
Bruce Lawson, Biographer.
“A genuinely important literary discovery, that illumines part of Steinbecks’s life, that has been in the shadow for half a century. I found it impossible to get a good take on Gwen. Obviously Steinbeck was wildly attracted to her: she was beautiful, tall and willowy. But as she had passed away, it was impossible to know how she really felt about her famous husband and what that marriage was really like. Did Steinbeck value her? Did he treat her well?”
Jay Parini, 1994, Steinbeck biographer.
“Finally, we have the story of Gwen, also known as Gwyn, John Steinbecks’s second wife and mother of his two sons. Her story is the missing piece of the jigsaw that was John Steinbeck, a flawed genius. Hold on tight. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride.”
James Dourgarian. Bookseller and Steinbeck specialist.