Spalding bookshop’s pick of a good read

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Bookmark in Spalding has selected The Staircase Girls by Catherine Seymour as its book of the week.

Glancing up at the enormous wooden, carved gate, she hesitated. This was a secret world she was about to enter...

For 16-year-old Joyce, who lived in one of the poorest streets in Cambridge, the college building where she was about to enter represented privilege, wealth, a life she’d never live.

As a bedder, Joyce would be working up and down one of the stone staircases, making the beds of the male students, sweeping floors, dusting desks.

She never expected to also find herself mothering, chastising and sometimes even covering up for ‘her boys’.

The Staircase Girls takes us into the lives of Joyce and other bedders, like Nance, Maud, Rose and Audrey.

They endured the Second World War and then had to contend with poverty, ill health and bereavement.

They loved, lost and loved again.

Revealing their untold stories for the first time, this is a vivid, poignant account of these remarkable women’s lives.

The book retails for £7.99 but there is a 20 per cent discount voucher in the Spalding Guardian of August 4.