I used to believe the world had been created for me; every stone and grain of sand. As I grew older, I began to think of myself as something tacked on to the edge.
1939, London: From McPhail’s Passage to Kensington’s Grand Palace Hotel, Rose Dunbar is evacuated from her humble home on the Rock of Gibraltar and dropped into a chaotic city of falling bombs, perplexing class rules and bad weather. Despite being ‘flagrantly foreign’ to the locals, she becomes an efficient go-between for the upper-class ladies helping out with the war effort and her own tribe of noisy displaced families.
It is only when she is shifted to the countryside to become secretary to the plain-speaking and sightless Major Inchbold that Rose’s dizzying journey to womanhood will become more surreal than ever, as she drinks tea at the vicarage, shields her best friend from abuse and stands up for the lower orders. But Rose’s greatest dilemma is yet to come, as she must decide where her home – and her heart – really lies.
In Anne Youngson’s wry and sublimely understated prose, this unique and beautiful story of love, class and belonging is also a profound and intimate meditation on what it takes to find our place in the world.
"A complicated story...I wouldn't have been at all surprised if it was a forgotten classic republished by Persephone or Virago Modern Classics." - Sara Manning, Red Online
“A touching story full of love and humanity.” - Sharon Reid
“Anne Youngson’s skilfull, understated third novel brings this tale (of the evacuation of Gibraltar) to life.” - Erica Wagner, Harper’s Bazaar
“From helping out with the war effort to sheltering her friend from abuse and finding her place in the world, it’s a beautiful story of love and belonging.” - Zoe West, Woman’s Weekly
“A tender, often wry novel rendered with impressive period authenticity.” - The Mail on Sunday
“With all the wisdom, wit and humanity that infused her debut, Meet Me at the Museum, Youngson has Rose address her story, teasingly, to ‘you’ (we must wait to find out who), in an utterly plausible voice, casting a wry eye over other characters along the way. An absolute delight.” - Saga Review (Exceptional Pick of the Month)