CHARLES RATCLIFF, A country boy from Northampton, started his working life as a gardener’s boy in the Bothy at Althorp House, the home of Earl Spencer.
At the same time Alice Jones, a ‘townie’ from Barnes on the edge of London, served as Parlour Maid at the estate of Lord Normanton at Ringwood in Hampshire and then moved to Easthampstead Park, the country home of the Marquess of Downshire.
We follow Charles and Alice as they move from place to place and eventually meet. We then follow them through the agonies of the Great War of 1914-18 when Charles the gardener found himself a soldier in the West Surrey Regiment fighting on The Somme.
Set in the Edwardian era against a backdrop of some of the most prestigious estates in England, Alice and Charles’s story is a true upstairs/downstairs tale of a working-class English family from the death of Victoria in 1901 until the Battle of Britain in 1941.
All of it is true and, with the exception of a few minor characters, all names are real. The conversations are, of course, imagined but are based on the author’s knowledge of the people concerned.