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  • Published: 3 May 2004
  • ISBN: 9780099449287
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

Diary Of An Ordinary Woman

'I rushed through this novel and enjoyed it enormously - what she experienced in her very "ordinariness" was shared by thousands of real women of her generation' Val Hennessey, Daily Mail

Margaret Forster presents the 'edited' diary of a woman, born in 1901, whose life spans the twentieth century. On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build-up to another war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London.

Here is twentieth-century woman in close-up coping with the tragedies and upheavals of women's lives from WWI to Greenham Common and beyond. A triumph of resolution and evocation, this is a beautifully observed story of an ordinary woman's life - a narrative where every word rings true.

  • Published: 3 May 2004
  • ISBN: 9780099449287
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Margaret Forster

Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, IsThere Anything You Want?, Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs – Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses – and biographies. She was married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lived in London and the Lake District. She died in February 2016, just before her last novel, How to Measure a Cow, was published.

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Praise for Diary Of An Ordinary Woman

A highly enjoyable read: well-informed, gripping...an overview of the period seen from the underside

Sunday Telegraph

Not only is the background of social and political change meticulously accurate...but there is everything one would expect from a well-kept diary. This is fiction: yet it is true


A beautifully crafted novel about the cost of war... Forster is as distinguished a biographer and memoir-writer as she is a novelist. She is an old hand at making a story out of the fragments of a life

Daily Telegraph

We believe in Millicent whole-heartedly and come to love her - she has a heroism that George Eliot would recognise. It may be fiction, but it's also - convincingly, tragically and often exhilaratingly - real life

Independent on Sunday

A richly textured, skilfully structured and highly enjoyable novel by an experienced writer at the peak of her powers

Times Literary Supplement

No woman could have been more liberated than Millicent King, whose story Margaret Forster tells in this excellent novel - less a novel than a chronicle of events experienced by a token ordinary woman, who is in fact not so much ordinary as iconic

Anita Brookner, Spectator

A new work by Margaret Forster always gives me a tingle of anticipation. Her books are consistently good reads, packed with originality and imagination

Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

Always convincing and utterly compulsive


This is a remarkable novel. Forster evokes a woman and a century with faultless clarity. She also makes us question how we know the past, each other and ourselves

Good Book Guide

Diary of an Ordinary Woman is certainly more gripping and more immediate than many novels...Forster has pulled off an imaginative feat

Literary Review

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