Dearest Joy The wartime letters of
Sydney Tafler & Joy Shelton
Compiled by Jonathan Tafler
Paperback Book, 251 pages, 31 photos and images, many previously unseen.
Joy Shelton and Sydney Tafler met at a party in London in 1943. Both RADA graduates beginning their acting careers, within a year they were married. A few months later, Sydney was touring newly liberated Europe with Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, as a member of the famous Old Vic Company; whilst Joy was appearing nightly in London’s West End, pregnant and attempting to convert to Judaism before the birth of their first child. The letters they exchanged are reproduced in this book. Sydney Tafler died in 1979 when his son Jonathan was 21 years old. His mother Joan Shelton died in 2000 and Jonathan received the family archive of newspaper clippings, photographs and letters from his father to his mother, mostly written when they were apart while he was on tour after the war, separated from his young wife and unembarrassed to declare his love for her. A decade later, after his own son was born, Jonathan explored the archive thoroughly and published them as a collection for his family. It then transpired that his sister was in possession of the letters their mother had written in reply to his father. Now the letters have been combined, revealing, in Jonathan’s words: “two young people, starting out in life, full of swagger and hope, greedily enjoying all that was set before them.
“A wonderful book: tender, wry, full of fabulous stories and above all a chronicle of deep love between two people…”