Part of a curated collection of forgotten works by early to mid-century women writers, the British Library Women Writers series highlights the best middlebrow fiction from the 1910s to the 1960s, offering escapism, popular appeal and plenty of period detail to amuse, surprise and inform.
Miss Cullen finds herself in a dreadful predicament. Four years from retirement, she can no longer meet the educational standards expected nor control her pupils at Besley High School for girls. She knows that no other school will hire her now, but if she is sacked or doesn’t work until she’s 60, she will lose her pension. Her only hope is to hang on. But her poor exam results affect the standing of the whole school. Her colleagues embark on a campaign against her to save their own positions and she retaliates by involving the school inspector. Into this hostile environment comes Viola Kennedy, a young new teacher full of optimism and ideas, who instead gets caught up in the conspiracies and swirling resentments. A quietly devastating novel about the realities of life for single working women in the 1920s and the systems that failed them.
Publication date: 08/09/22
Author: Eleanor Scott, with afterword by Simon Thomas