Rose Pendlebury has little in common with her Islington neighbours. Her street has been invaded by young, confident, upwardly-mobile people without, it seems, a care in the world. She keeps herself to herself, and only her husband Stan is aware of her bubbling anger, her terrible prickliness and her ability to take offence.
But when Alice and Tony move in next door with their enchanting toddler Amy, Mrs Pendlebury begins to come out of her shell, as gradually her new neighbours undermine her traditional, cautious privacy. Mrs Pendlebury may not be ripe for transformation, or even happiness, but she is not too old to change.
Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want? , Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs - Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses - and biographies. She was married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lived in London and the Lake District. She died in February 2016, just before her last novel, How to Measure a Cow, was published.