Elizabeth Osborne Mavor was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to the family of a prosperous director of a mine engineering company. She was educated at St. Leonard's School and read Modern History at Oxford University, where she edited the independent student newspaper, Cherwell. After graduation, she worked for Argosy magazine for several years, wrote reviews for newspapers, and began writing fiction. In 1953, she married Haro Hodson, an illustrator and cartoonist, with whom she had two sons. Her debut novel, Summer in the Greenhouse, was published in 1959. Other novels included The Temple of Flora (1961), The Redoubt (1967), A Green Equinox (1973), and The White Solitaire (1988). Her biographies included The Virgin Mistress: A Study in Survival (1964), about Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston; and her most famous book, The Ladies of Llangollen: A Study in Romantic Friendship (1971) about Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Her other nonfiction works included edited journals of Fanny Kemble and Katherine Wilmot.