Cover image for Only my dreams : an English girlhood
Only my dreams : an English girlhood
Salusbury, Hilda Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago, IL : Academy Chicago, 1989.
Physical Description:
271 pages ; 20 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA566.4 .S27 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Hilda Ann Salusbury's mother deserted her husband and four children during the first World War. The author was forced to leave school to adopt the role of "skivvy" and "little mother" to her brothers and sisters. But she was too restless to remain at home: immature, uneducated and emotionally illequipped to cope with life in classconscious Britain, she set out to "better" herself, to try to build a career of some kind. But there was little life could offer an ambitious girl in the 1920s--especially one with no social connections. Domestic service was the only answer, and this the author was determined to avoid. She embarked on a series of adventures: in a "gentleman's" home, in a household of invalids in a remote Norfolk village, and finally in London's East End, to seek romance amidst the poverty and squalor.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This Englishwoman's memoir is unaffected and eloquent. Born in a Norfolk coastal town in 1906, she was the oldest of four children whose mother went off with soldiers during the ``Great War.'' The author was then only 12 but in charge of a household that included her stern Victorian father and Grannie, who gave what help she could to the hard-working child. Although the difficulties of life are vividly detailed, so are its joys, as Salusbury recalls games and small treats, to her the more precious for their rarity. The reader shares in her victories, as the spirited young woman liberates herself, progressing from menial work to a career in nursing and marriage to a man whom she lovingly recalls, telling us of his death in 1984, and that ``at 82 I keep house for myself.'' There are no complaints to be found in the book; there are recollections of sadness but also of exuberantly funny times. Illustrated. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This autobiography is the story of a quest. After her mother deserted her, Salusbury was required by a severe, authoritarian father to leave school and manage his household. She eventually battled her way out, first finding work as a governess, and finally entering training and becoming a nurse. The emotional escape from victimization took longer. Rich detail evokes the incessant demands of everyday housekeeping, but the drama lies in the struggle of a young woman in the years after World War I to gain control of her own life. Good reading for those who like to know what life was like then; an interesting case for students of social history.-- Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.