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A memoir from one of our best-loved and best-selling authors. A beautiful and compelling glimpse into a world now lost and the birth of a writer

*The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller*

Rose Tremain grew up in post-war London, a city of grey austerity, still partly in ruins, where both food and affection were fiercely rationed. The girl known then as ‘Rosie’ and her sister Jo spent their days longing for their grandparents' farm, buried deep in the Hampshire countryside, a green paradise of feasts and freedom, where they could at last roam and dream.

But when Rosie is ten years old, everything changes. She and Jo lose their father, their London house, their school, their friends, and -- most agonisingly of all -- their beloved Nanny, Vera, the only adult to have shown them real love and affection.

Briskly dispatched to a freezing boarding-school in Hertfordshire, they once again feel like imprisoned castaways. But slowly the teenage Rosie escapes from the cold world of the Fifties, into a place of inspiration and mischief, of loving friendships and dedicated teachers, where a young writer is suddenly ready to be born.


Rose Tremain turns to non-fiction for the first time with this lyrical account of her life up to the age of 18 ... The evocation of 1950s schoolgirldom, with all its emotions, elations and smells, is wonderfully vivid - distinctive, like being donated a set of dreams ... A quiet drama, but as you'd expect it's the writing that makes this book such a delight

Claire Harman, Evening Standard

Rose Tremain manages to fit more wisdom, more unforgettable scenes, more illuminating recollections, into this 194-page memoir than other writers do in memoirs three times the length. A book as nourishing, but concise as this makes you wonder why other writers have to be so long-winded ... For anyone who loves Tremain's novels this memoir is a vital companion

Ysenda Maxton Graham, The Times

A beautifully written ode to the tenacity of our younger selves

Francesca Brown, Stylist

Intriguing and moving ... So much more alert and open and alive than so many slightly disappointing memoirs by otherwise great writers ... Rosie is a work of self-discovery in the best possible sense of the word - it pulls you in, unsettles, comforts and exhilarates and, finally, makes you see your life anew

Julie Myerson, The Spectator

This poignant memoir ... A telling portrait of what went into the making of one of our most acclaimed novelists

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

The author uses her considerable narrative skills of set-up and delayed revelation to keep the reader enthralled ... Fans of her novels will know that Tremain has a brilliant eye for visual information, vividly deployed here

John Walsh, The Sunday Times

This slim, elegant - sometimes shocking - study of maternal failure is also a love letter to her nanny

Lisa Allardice, The Guardian

Dream-like vignettes of a girl - and a world - that no longer exists ... Rosie is endlessly intriguing.

Lucy Scholes, The Independent

In the manner of a certain kind of photograph album, it captures rather beautifully a privileged postwar world ... Fascinating ... Perfectly delicious in its way

Rachel Cooke, The Observer

Compelling, moving and nostalgic in its evocation of a bygone era

Charlotte Heathcote, Daily Express

An evocative, unflinching memoir ... electric

Hephzibah Anderson, The Mail on Sunday

I was startled, but also very moved, by the almost abrasive directness of Rose Tremain's memoir Rosie. It did exactly what memoirs ought to do: made me want to rush straight back to her fiction

Julie Myerson, The Observer

Tremain did not publish her first fiction until she was 33 – this disquieting, beautifully crafted memoir shows that she was in training to be a writer from the start

Catherine Taylor, Irish Times

That most polished and elegant of novelists, Rose Tremain, has produced a memoir of her first 18 years, marked by her characteristic clarity of style and sensitivity to detail

Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

Independent of sentimental convention ... candid ... [an] arresting book

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Guardian

In crisp, elegant, mostly dispassionate prose, the award-winning author of The Way I Found Her, Restoration and The Gustav Sonata unravels her upper-middle-class family history

Eithne Farry, Sunday Express

Clear and honest, full of the insight you wish you could apply to your own life.

Anna Fielding, Stylist

Beautifully written

Choice Magazine

Tremain makes this denuded upper-middle-class life both tangible and affecting

New Statesman

It would be unsurprising if this book were an inferno of rage, but its unnerving power in fact lies in its control.

Elizabeth Lowry, Times Literary Supplement

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    April 16, 2018

    Chatto & Windus

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 12, 2018

    Vintage Digital

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