Born and brought up in Scotland, Reay Tannahill would have liked to have gone either to art or drama school but fell victim to the traditional Scottish passion for formal education and found herself instead at the University of Glasgow, from where she emerged with an MA in history and a postgraduate certificate in social sciences. Until her death in 2007 she lived in London.
After a varied career – as a probation officer, advertising copy-writer, newspaper reporter, historical researcher and graphic designer – she was asked by the Folio Society to write a short illustrated study of Regency England. This allowed her to combine her interests in art and history and was followed by PARIS IN THE REVOLUTION, THE FINE ART OF FOOD, FOOD IN HISTORY and SEX IN HISTORY. Having spent twelve years researching and writing these last two books (translated into eleven languages), Reay Tannahill felt that a change was called for and embarked on her first historical novel, A DARK AND DISTANT SHORE, which was an instant bestseller. Her following historical novels were all critically acclaimed and included PASSING GLORY, winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award.