This heart-warming book of true stories is about women who lived during four different centuries. It testifies to the strength of mind of women forced to cope with wars and illness while protecting and educating their children, and it shows how family members worked together as the British Empire spread. Margaret Rudston was caught up in the English Civil War. When her husband died, she had to fight in court to keep the family property. Margaret’s solicitor gave her copies of poems by John Donne, which now reside in the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. Maria Barstow endured 20 years of wars in Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland), where her house was inhabited at different times by the future queen of Holland, the French army, Napoleon, and the Russian army. Some of her children were sent to England. Mrs. Jones and her children fled from Ireland when the French landed to support a rebellion. The daughters of the hymn writer, the Rev. Thomas Kelly, lived in Ireland through illness and the famine. They learned painting from Maria Spilsbury and wrote memoirs. Joan Webber taught in Malaya (now Malaysia), and escaped to Australia with her children during World War II, while her husband was fighting the Japanese. The family later settled in Tasmania. One of her children, author Sylvia Webber, writes how war, separation, and boarding school affected her. These stories show families pulling together and helping the human spirit to survive.
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