Monica Dickens MBE was born in 1915, and was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. Expelled from St Paul's Girls' School, she was then sent to a finishing school in France, before returning home to life as a debutante: 'The deb scene and the dances were absolute agony. I would look at the waiters and the maids at balls and know for certain that they were having a better time than I was. So I wanted to belong with them, down there where there was a bit of life.' And indeed, she then spent two years as a cook and general servant. She later wrote about her experiences in her first book, One Pair of Hands (1939), which made her a bestseller at the age of twenty-two and immediately established her reputation as a writer. In her career she wrote over fifty books, including the Follyfoot novels, and for twenty years wrote a much-loved column for Woman's Own. She was also involved with the NSPCC, the RSPCA and the Samaritans. She died in 1992, and is survived by two daughters.