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J.C. Smith

We meet Betty at the tender age of sixteen when she is helping a neighbour on a fairground stall. The year is 1912. She briefly meets a boy but misses the chance to see him again. Fate, however, brings them together when she is working as a kitchen maid at a manor house.

The narrative becomes darker with the onset of the Great War, which everyone optimistically believes will be over ‘by Christmas'. We follow its consequences for Betty and the way her life changes and oscillates between happiness and sorrow, up to the end of the Second World War.

We learn much about the way of life for people who've always had to work hard, whether as a servant, in a laundry or later in a mining community. The final outcome will make you pause for thought.

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I live in South Yorkshire. I left school when I was fifteen to work in general labouring jobs. Whatever else I was doing, I was always writing poems, short stories, novels.

I was encouraged to write while at school by two teachers, Mrs. Tooth and Miss. Stafford. Taking their advice has given me endless hours of pleasure. I also enjoy walking, gardening, eating out, real ale and music.