The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is an extraordinary memoir—a jewel. Rosemary Kingsland was born in India during the dying days of the British Raj. While there, she and her family lived a life of privilege. But with the fall of the Raj, they were forced to return to England, where their fortunes took a decided turn for the worse. In London, then in Cornwall, then back in London, the simmering tension between Rosemary’s parents erupted into outright warfare fueled by alcohol and her father’s persistent, unrepentant womanizing. It was a lonely, dangerous childhood.
But one day Rosemary’s life changed forever. At a café where she had gone to escape from a party her father had insisted she attend with him, she met Richard Burton, the dashingly handsome Welsh actor who was then the toast of the London stage. She had seen him in Under Milkwood some months before. She was an adolescent schoolgirl. He was twenty-nine.
The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is a deeply felt evocation of first love, and of family bonds forged in intense isolation. It is made all the more remarkable by the luminous quality and riveting narrative voice of Rosemary Kingsland.
From the Hardcover edition.