Published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
ISBN 0340962143 (ISBN13: 9780340962145)
Grace ran a brothel in Croydon just after the War and Tess, a timid child who longed for her mother’s love more than anything, grew up in an atmosphere of sex and depravity. Dangerous criminals visited the brothel every day, and Tess was groomed from an early age. Then, when she was 10, her mother began passing her to clients and Tess’s childhood happiness, precarious as it was, shattered into tiny pieces.
This is a biographical novel that was recommended to me by a friend. I wasn’t sure what to make of it to start with, but I persisted with it and finished it. It is a sad tale of a girl who so desperately wanted her mother’s love, but the only way she got it was by being manipulated and deceived. Tess’s life got worse as she got older with abusive relationships with both males and females, prostitution, and jail time for theft. She deserved better in life, and it wasn’t until she was in her fifties that she found the happiness she craved.
Life was one big learning curve for Tess and once she started to realise that there was more to it than the life she led, she was able to see what happened and where it all went wrong. The one shining light in Tess’s life was her daughter, whom she was able to love with all of her heart, and it was with Angie’s birth that Tess realised that her mother wasn’t really a mother at all.
A heartbreakingly true story, but one of triumph over pain and adversity.