As the effects of the war raging in Europe begin to be felt at home in London, Monica Dickens decides to do her bit and to pursue a new career, and so enrols as a student nurse at a hospital in rural Hertfordshire. By nature clever and spirited, she struggles to submit to the iron rule of the Matron and Sisters, and is alternately infuriated and charmed by her patients. That's not to mention the mountains of menial work that are a trainee's lot. But there are friends among the staff and patients, night-time escapades to dances with dashing army men, and her secret writing project to keep her going.
Monica Dickens (1915-92) was born into a well-to-do London family and was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. Chafing against her background and having been expelled from St Paul's Girls School, she trained as a domestic servant and her experiences inspired her first memoir, One Pair of Hands (1939). She then turned to nursing, and produced One Pair of Feet (1942). She wrote numerous novels and memoirs, and found huge popular recognition as creator of the TV and children's books series Follyfoot. In the 1950s she moved to the US, and remained there for much of her life, writing and doing humanitarian work - she founded the US branch of the Samaritans - before returning to the UK in 1985.