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Monica Dickens MBE was born in 1915, and was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. Expelled from St Paul's Girls' School, she was then sent to a finishing school in France, before returning home to life as a debutante: 'The deb scene and the dances were absolute agony. I would look at the waiters and the maids at balls and know for certain that they were having a better time than I was. So I wanted to belong with them, down there where there was a bit of life.' And indeed, she then spent two years as a cook and general servant. She later wrote about her experiences in her first book, One Pair of Hands (1939), which made her a bestseller at the age of twenty-two and immediately established her reputation as a writer. In her career she wrote over fifty books, including the Follyfoot novels, and for twenty years wrote a much-loved column for Woman's Own. She was also involved with the NSPCC, the RSPCA and the Samaritans. She died in 1992, and is survived by two daughters.

Books by Monica Dickens