Henry and Miriam were raised in East London, but their families had emigrated from Eastern Europe, and they were not to end their lives in the East End. From a market stall on Petticoat Lane, their story led - from forays into the West End to the success of Henry's underwear business and a remarkable friendship with his upper-class mentor Walter - to a life lived among Astors and Parker-Bowleses, a grand flat on Regent's Park, and a world of Court, club and charity balls.
Andrew Miller's compelling family history tells, elegaically but without nostalgia, of London's many faces. It is a story of immigration and Anglicisation, of the significance of race and class and language and accent in our country, of how it has been possible for people in this country to change themselves and their lives. 28