'Extraordinary. Timeless, funny and utterly absorbing' HILARY MANTEL In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt started a journal that she would keep for the rest of her life, producing over a million words in 45 exercise books. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries' existence, and they have remained unpublished until now. Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and disappointments in love. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation and the shifting landscape for women in society. A unique slice of living, breathing British history, Jean's diaries are a revealing chronicle of life in the twentieth century.
Jean Lucey Pratt was born in 1909 and lived much of her life in a small cottage on the edge of Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire. She was a trainee architect, she was a publicist, she gardened, she took in lodgers, she read copiously, she wrote criticism, and in later years she ran a bookshop. But above all, she kept track of her life in the most lyrical of ways, from the age of 15 until just a few days before her death in 1986. Simon Garfield is the author of sixteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including To the Letter, On the Map, Just My Type and Mauve. His study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. www.simongarfield.com
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