1950: Seven-year-old Carol Martin lies encased in an iron lung, struck down by the killer disease, polio. Distraught at her side, her mother, Violet, wonders if this is her punishment - for Carol is the love child who should not have been born.... Family of Women is the story of three generations of women: Bessie - scarred by a childhood of poverty in the slums of Victorian Birmingham and left a young widow with four children, is a hard, bullying woman who will go to disturbing lengths to keep her family under her thumb. Violet - one of Bessie's four children, marries young to escape, into the arms of a man whose life will be broken by war. Linda - grows up on a large housing estate in the 1950s with older sister Joyce and her beloved young sister Carol. Intelligent and energetic, she craves education and something more than the life she sees around her. Torn from her longed for place at the grammar school, she gives up hoping for anything better. It takes a tragic love affair to make her question the limitations of her life and the secrets which haunt her family. Spanning more than half of the last century, Family of Women is a story of one family - and of the joys, struggles and changes in women's lives.
Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and now lives in Reading with her husband and four children. She read English at Oxford, and her first 'Birmingham' novel, Birmingham Rose, hit the Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written eight other successful novels, including, most recently, Miss Purdy's Class.