An affair with the unpredictable Joe as well as the need to escape from the domination of her mother led to a marriage that Virginia was determined would work. But Joe had no reason to trust or respect women, leading to a marriage filled with both insecurity and tragedy. As he draws her into one humiliating situation after another, Virginia is forced to admit that her romantic dream has turned into a nightmare, with her future happiness dependent upon her own courage and strength of character.
Great grand daughter to Charles Dickens, Monica (1915-1992) was born into an upper middle class family. Disillusioned with the world she was brought up in - she was expelled from St Paul's Girls' School in London for throwing her school uniform over Hammersmith Bridge - Dickens then decided to go into service, despite coming from the privileged class; her experiences as a cook and general servant would form the nucleus of her first book, One Pair Of Hands in 1939.
Dickens married an American Navy officer, Roy O. Stratton, and spent much of her adult life in Massachusetts and Washington D.C., but the majority of writing continued to be set in Britain. Her book of 1953, No More Meadows, reflected her work with the NSPCC and she later helped to found the American Samaritans in Massachusetts. Between 1970 and 1971 she wrote a series of children's books known as The Worlds End Series which dealt with rescuing animals, and to some extent children. After the death of her husband in 1985, Dickens returned to England where she continued to write until her death aged 77.