Latchkey Ladies by Marjorie Grant
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Latchkey Ladies by Marjorie Grant

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The latchkey ladies are the women who live alone or in shared rooms in London at the end of the First World War, determined to use their new freedoms, and treading a fine line between independence and disaster. A powerful and moving novel from 1921, about the lives and choices of single women, by Marjorie Grant, a Canadian novelist and reviewer, and a close friend of Rose Macaulay.

  • Maquita Gilroy is a Government clerk with a lively sense of self-preservation.
  • Anne Carey is drifting between jobs, bored of her fiancé, and longing for something to give her life meaning. Then she meets Philip Dampier, a married man whose plays she admires.
  • Petunia Garry, a beautiful teenage chorus girl with no background and dubious morals, is swept up by the idealistic Robert Wentworth, who is determined to mould her into what he wants his wife to be.
  • Gertrude Denby, an Admiral’s daughter and an endlessly patient companion to an irritating employer, is so very tired of living out her life in hired rooms.

‘Theoretically ― in an ideal society ― every woman had a right to a child. The woman who produced her child from motives of love and fulfilment did far more for the race than the woman who became a mother only from a sense of moral obligation in marriage, perhaps. But actually one’s own unmarried niece in producing an illegitimate baby was bringing the most obvious form of shame and disgrace upon everyone concerned. Aunt Minnie was profoundly shaken.’

With an Introduction by Sarah LeFanu, author of Rose Macaulay (2003), and Dreaming of Rose(2021).