While It Is Yet Day: the biography of Elizabeth Fry

Averil Douglas Opperman

Hardcover (signed), Hardcover ISBN - 9781903360149


Also available as an ebook, priced at £7.95
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eBook ISBN - 9781903360156

While It Is Yet Day: the biography of Elizabeth Fry

Averil Douglas Opperman

The biography of Elizabeth Fry by Averil Douglas Opperman (adapted from an original work by Janet Whitney).


“A perfect gem”

– Daily Mail


Radical social reformer and Georgian celebrity, Elizabeth Fry was one of the nineteenth century’s most extraordinary women. Perfect for fans of Mary S. Lovell, Amanda Foreman and Tracy Borman.

Born the daughter of a Quaker banker, Fry was eighteen when she commandeered a laundry room to begin her own school.  At twenty, she wed Joseph Fry and, over their marriage, they had eleven children.

But a charitable visit to Newgate Prison would change the course of her life, and of history, forever. Unable to ignore the plight of the female convicts before her, she determined to do everything in her power to right the injustices they faced…

By her death, Elizabeth was famous amongst royalty, parliament and women on the street alike; respected by Queen Victoria; supporter to William Wilberforce; and influence on Florence Nightingale.

This biography, told with verve and pace, and interwoven with extracts from Elizabeth’s private diaries, will inspire and move you with the turn of a page.


Praise for Averil Douglas Opperman

‘A thought-provoking and beautifully written book’

-The Lady

‘Fascinating and inspirational…A warm, affectionate and very human biography’

-Lancashire Evening Post

‘Lively and engaging’

-Artemis Cooper

‘A real insight into how she lived her life and how her legacy lives on’

-Norwich Evening News

‘An inspiring and thought-provoking biography written with charm and clarity’

-Anne O’Brien

“Mother, wife and dedicated social reformer: a remarkable woman is brought vividly to life in this timely and engrossing biography”

-Kate Beaufoy

“While it is Yet Day is a wonderful, detailed account of Elizabeth Fry’s life. It is beautifully written and is a lovely read”

-Amazon Reviewer


About the author

Averil Douglas Opperman grew up in Dublin in a Quaker family and started her career as a journalist at the Irish Times. Since then she has travelled extensively, reporting on everything from parliament to equestrian events for newspapers, magazines and Ireland’s radio station, RTE.

Averil’s childhood fascination with Elizabeth Fry stemmed from a biography by Janet Whitney, penned in the 1930s. Both Elizabeth Fry and Janet Whitney’s autobiography of her have been long forgotten. With this book, Averil has adapted Whitney’s original work to bring this incredible story to a twenty-first century readership.


IT was January 1817 and in the gloomy hall outside the women’s yard at Newgate prison, two guards argued with a strangely dressed lady. It was cold and grey but the lady was obstinate and stood her ground. She had a permit from the Governor and would not be deterred.

As they argued a woman prisoner rushed wildly out of a doorway in the yard beyond them and with shrieks of furious laughter snatched off the caps and headgear of every woman she could reach.
‘And she wouldn’t stop at doing that to you, ma’am. Tear off your things – scratch and claw you – that’s what they’d do, ma’am,’ warned one of the turnkeys. The guards felt it would be inappropriate to describe all that could be done by these harpies to a lady who ventured alone into their midst. They never went in alone, always in pairs; even the Governor himself was well protected when he visited. The lady smiled, gave the men a little money and talked to them with unconscious authority. ‘I am going in – and alone. I thank you for your kind intentions, but you are not to come with me.’

They begged her to at least leave behind the gold watch chain which glittered on the simplicity of her dress.

‘Oh, no, I thank you. My watch goes with me everywhere. I am not afraid. Open the gate for me, please!’

With trepidation the turnkeys pressed open the gate against the noisy, surging crowd and the lady went inside. Instantly there was silence. Then every woman in the yard pushed forward and suddenly she was surrounded and the guards could no longer protect her.

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