This book was written in response to the author's questions about the books read by ordinary, middle-class women in the period between the wars. The starting point was the scene in the film Brief Encounter when Laura picks up "the new Kate O'Brien" from Boots. What else would Laura have read? This is a fascinating survey of the themes and preoccupations of women at the time. Some, like the perennial servant problem, seem far away to us now. Others, like love, family dramas, relationships and careers, are eternal. Nicola Beauman has gone on to reprint many of the authors discussed in this book as the creator of Persephone Books, one of the most exciting ventures in publishing in recent years. Authors reprinted by Persephone include E M Delafield, Cicely Hamilton, Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Monica Dickens. Persephone has enabled us to discover that many of these novels have been unjustly forgotten, and their authors neglected. Persephone helps us realise that the "canon" should never be fixed, there will always be more great writers to be rediscovered.