Elinor Glyn was born in Saint Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, the younger daughter of Douglas Sutherland (1838–1865), a civil engineer of Scottish descent related to the Lords Duffus, by his wife Elinor Saunders (1841–1937), of an Anglo-French family which had settled in Canada. Following the death of her father when she was just two months old, her mother returned to the parental home in Guelph, Ontario with her two daughters Lucy Christiana and baby Elinor. Here Elinor was schooled by her grandmother, Lucy Anne Saunders née Willcocks (an Anglo-Irish aristocrat and daughter of Sir Richard Willcocks) in the ways of upper-class society. This training not only gave her an entrée into aristocratic circles on her return to Europe, but it led her to be considered an authority on style and breeding when she worked in Hollywood in the 1920s.
Glyn's elder sister grew up to be Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, famous as the fashion designer "Lucile". Glyn's mother apparently remarried in 1871 a Mr Kennedy, and the family returned to Jersey when Glyn was eight years old. Her subsequent education at her stepfather's house was by governesses.
At the age of twenty-eight, the green-eyed red-haired but dowryless Elinor married on 27 April 1892. Her husband was Clayton Louis Glyn (1857–1915), a wealthy but spendthrift landowner, descended from Sir Richard Carr Glyn an 18th century Lord Mayor of London (according to her grandson Anthony Glyn). The couple had two daughters, Margot and Juliet, but the marriage foundered on mutual incompatibility. Glyn began writing in 1900, starting with a book based on letters to her mother. Her marriage was troubled, and Glyn began having affairs with various British aristocrats. Her Three Weeks, about an exotic Balkan queen who seduces a young British aristocrat, was allegedly inspired by her affair with Lord Alistair Innes Ker, brother of the Duke of Roxburghe, and scandalized Edwardian society. She had a long lasting affair between 1906 and 1916 with George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston. She was famously painted by society painter Philip de Laszlo at the age of 48.
As her husband fell into debt from 1908, Glyn wrote at least one novel a year to keep up her standard of living. He died in 1915 after several years of illness.
Elinor Glyn died 23 September 1943 in Chelsea, London, survived by her two daughters. Her elder daughter Margot Elinor, Lady Davson OBE died 10 September 1966 in Rome; she married Sir Edward Davson, 1st Baronet (14 September 1875-9 August 1937) in 1921 and had two sons: Geoffrey Leo Simon Davson, who inherited his father's baronetcy (created 1927) but changed his name to Anthony Glyn (13 March 1922 - 20 January 1998), and Christopher Davson.
Elinor Glyn's Books on Amazon: Elinor Glyn