Growing up in the thirties Irene reveals the hardships and greyness of family life in Nottingham and the contrasting joys of life, though poor, with her grandparents in the countryside near Newark on Trent. The day war broke out in September 1939 she went to live there with her grandmother but soon experienced homesickness. Back at home growing up an only child she hid the loneliness she felt without siblings and struggled with emotions she found hard to control, saddened by the fact that her parents seemed unable to display their love for each other. This made her determined that she would one day show love in abundance. Meanwhile she gained great comfort and happiness from her newfound Christianity and after an illness caused by a heartbreaking affair she fell passionately in love with a man only five years younger than her father. Her emotions were then tested to their limits.