Mary Wesley won some notoriety by beginning her writing career proper at the age of seventy, when she published her first novel for adults. After this she kept up for some time the rate of one new book a year. (Before this she had published two of her three novels for children and drafted several adult works.) Late in life she added a volume that combines memoir with topographical writing. Her comic, satirical fiction, in which middle-aged or elderly female protagonists look back at their early lives (often shadowed by war) and reflect on sexual indiscretions (often still continuing), won her very great if not enduring popularity; she became known for sexually explicit writing, in comic or horrific, non-idealised style. Patrick Parrinder regards her as "a last celebrant of the vanishing life of the English upper and upper-middle classes."