Set in 1914 just at the start of World War One, it traces the struggles of Peggy and her intellectually different twin sister, both of whom work at the Oxford University Press. Restricted by her lack of education and opportunities, Peggy meets middle class young women who volunteer for war work assisting injured soldiers hospitalised in Oxford. While conscious of her working class background, she becomes increasingly determined to get into Oxford University, despite women of her class being usually excluded.
Two Belgian refugees become her friends, Lotte and Bastiaan- a badly injured soldier who later asks Peggy to marry him. She chooses education instead and becomes a supporter of increased political rights for working class women.
While class issues, exclusion and political activism form part of the novel, a heart warming story of personal discovery for Peggy carries the novel along.
Next months novel will be Go as a River by Shelly Read.