Focusing on Virginia Woolf's close and inspirational female friendships with the key women in her life, Vanessa Curtis offers a portrait of the writer, looking at both the effect of these relationships on her emotional life and the inspiration that each woman provided for the female protagonists in her fiction. Women inspired and fascinated Woolf until the day she died, evoking not only her loyalty, love and wit, but also anger, envy and insecurity. The author begins by exposing the lesser known details of Woolf's Victorian childhood, spent underneath the suffocating wings of the "angels in the house" who instilled in her a lifelong battle between creativity and convention. The journey continues with a study of the other women in Woolf's life; her silent sister, Vanessa Bell; enigmatic artist Dora Carrington; complex writer Katherine Mansfield; aristocratic novelist Vita Sackville-West and riotous, militant composer Ethel Smyth. The book takes the reader on a journey through the most important female relationships of Woolf's life, drawing on previously unpublished archives, ultimately revealing a portrait of Virginia Woolf as writer, daughter, sister, lover and friend.