CENTURY GIRLS: The Final Word from the Women

Book number: 93448 Product format: Hardback Author: TESSA DUNLOP

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Bibliophile price £3.00
Published price £20

Six women who are a century old tell their stories in this amazing social history. Olive Gordon came from British Guiana in the fifties and loves talking about the time she met her husband Ray on her first night in London. Joyce Reynolds, a classics don at Cambridge, encountered her share of prejudice against women high achievers, and she enjoys discussing the old days with her friend and neighbour, the well-known classicist Mary Beard. Helena Jones lives in Brecon and fills her life with politics, the Women's Institute, and raising funds for the Eisteddfod with her celebrated Welsh cakes. Although Edna Cripps grew up in poverty in rural Lincolnshire, she is not self-pitying and has a vast store of human understanding. Phyllis Ramsay is an archetypal Edinburgh widow who confides her old-fashioned view that mothers should stay at home to look after their children. She was born in the British Raj, grew up shooting for the pot, and still does her own cooking. Finally, Ann Baer, nee Sidgwick, left school without qualifications but comes from an academic, bohemian family and returned to higher education later in life. All except Ann were the eldest of a number of siblings and as they grew up had to take their turn with domestic responsibilities. Helena's life revolved round chapel and bathing the baby, and when her sister died she had the job of telling her other siblings. Her career in teaching was a lifelong vocation. When Edna's father died young of double pneumonia, she lost her hope of going to Grantham High School, like Margaret Thatcher, and went into domestic service at the age of 14, having her long hair cut off and being expected to pluck game and skin rabbits. All the six children were educated to believe in the glories of the British empire, including Olive in British Guiana. Though most of the girls got married they are reticent about their sex lives. Joyce remained single, and Phyllis married on a two-week acquaintance. 340pp.

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ISBN 9781471161322

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