Griselda’s mother is disturbed when the half-brother of her late husband criticises the choice they took in sending their Protestant daughter, known as Selly, to a Catholic school.
Selly discovers many difficulties in life as she exchanges the placid, honest world of the gentle nuns for the harsh reality of the modern world in the late twentieth century.
In her early relationships with men Selly soon realises that her expectations are far too high, and this is not helped by the revelation that her Uncle Jack wishes to marry her mother, making the bond between them sorely tested.
With her own marriage to Ted, a much older widower, Selly finds there are many strains. Ted is used to his own ways and has a fairly old-fashioned outlook on life. She is left in a quandary: does she behave like her namesake in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, being a ‘humble, hardworking, dutiful maiden’, or will she become a woman with spirit, standing firm on her own grounds?
The birth of a son does not help the couple, with the rift between them becoming greater and Ted’s dominance over her life more specific. And the circumstances surrounding the sad loss of their child bring events to a climax.
Finally, Selly is given the opportunity to change the course of her future, involving one of the first men with whom she had been attached. Her Catholic education still impacts on her conscience, but she must make a decision which will determine the rest of her life.
About the author:
Born in 1917, the author was at first home educated and then became one of the Protestant pupils attending the Catholic Convent School in Putney; she went on to attend Wallington County School. Her working career started with the Prudential Assurance Company involved in health work.
She joined the Women’s Land Army in 1942, returning to her work in Torquay after the end of World War II in 1946. With the arrival of the new National Health Service she became a civil servant in Wallington for a year before being sent to the Canning Town office to help set up the new scheme. It was here she met her husband.