Monica Dickens states that she never set out specifically to gather material for books when she worked at various jobs in the years surrounding the Second World War, but her experiences make fascinating reading. This book sees the author working in the offices of a local newspaper and brings to life in an amazingly vivid way the life and spirit of post-war England. Dickens' character portraits are so true-to-life that you feel you actually know the people, while her unsentimental picture of the (as we see them now) hardships of life is a valuable historical record. Binding it all together is the author's keen eye for observation, dry understated wit and humour, and an enviable ability to tell a story against herself. The picture she paints of herself as a bumbling second-rate reporter, unable to string together a coherent paragraph about the most mundane of subjects, is quite at odds with her actual facility to write engaging, captivating prose. If you enjoy the sort of stories told by James Herriot and his ilk, you will love this book and the others in the series.