Born into an affluent family, Bonnie, Tor and Ula have been left to the feckless embrace of the cook and their nanny. Their father is dead. Their glamorous mother is away entertaining the troops.
When their infant brother falls ill and dies, the household disintegrates. In Tin Toys, Ula escapes with Cook, barely out of girlhood herself, and lands at the mansion of an enigmatic matriarch. In Unicorn Sisters, the three sisters are sent to a shabby English boarding school where the pupils are pitted against an anarchic gang of East End evacuees. A Bubble Garden finds the girls in Ireland, where they scrape a life in a crumbling, once-grand farmhouse, while their mother and her new husband are mired in their private traumas. A uniquely compelling and powerful coming-of-age classic.
Ursula Holden (b. 1921) grew up in Surrey and attended a boarding school on the south coast. During WWII she was with the WRNS, and when the war ended she went to Dublin, where she worked as a model at the art school and met her husband. They returned with their two children to London, where a third daughter was born. The marriage ended in 1970. Holden worked at various jobs, took in lodgers and began to write. Alan Ross, poet and editor of the London Magazine, published her first three books, Endless Race (1975), String Horses (1976) and Turnstiles (1977), and a further nine novels followed, including the Tin Toys trilogy in the mid-1980s. Now living in a care home in west London, Ursula Holden still writes daily and contributes to the Oldie. In 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.