It is 1948 and Britain is struggling to recover from the Second World War. Half French, half English, Marguerite Carter, young and beautiful, has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. Leaving her partisan lover she returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, belts her grey gabardine mac and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls' grammar school. For Miss Carter has a mission - to fight social injustice, to prevent war and to educate her girls. Through deep friendships and love lost and found, from the peace marches of the fifties and the flowering of the Swinging Sixties, to the rise of Thatcher and the battle for gay rights, to the spectre of a new war, Sheila Hancock has created a powerful, panoramic portrait of Britain through the life of one very singular woman.
Sheila Hancock is one of Britain's most highly regarded and popular actors, and received an OBE for services to drama in 1974 and a CBE in 2011. Since the 1950s she has enjoyed a career across film, television, theatre and radio. Her first big television role was in the BBC sitcom The Rag Trade in the early 1960s. She has directed and acted for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Her first book, Ramblings of an Actress, was published in 1987. Following the death of her husband, John Thaw, Sheila Hancock wrote a memoir of their marriage, The Two of Us, which was a no. 1 bestseller and won the British Book Award for Author of the Year in 2004. Her memoir of her widowhood, Just Me, also a bestseller, was published in 2008. She lives in London and France.