Funerals are strange things. Kitty hadn't really wanted to go to this one - a old school friend she hadn't seen for years - and she hadn't bargained for the way it made her think of the past. In particular, it made her think of the baby she had given birth to when she was eighteen, the baby her parents had insisted she give away for adoption. She'd called her Madeleine, and she remembered her every day, what she was like, if she was happy. But now, reminded of how cruelly short life can be, she had to see her - just to make sure she'd done the right thing.

Life had turned out pretty well for Kitty. Secure in her marriage, with her two teenage children and a house within sound and sight of the Cornish surf, she counted herself among the lucky ones. But the hole left by that first baby wasn't getting any smaller, and she decided to make the first, tentative steps towards filling it - although she, and all her family, were quite unprepared for the upheaval which followed.

Sounds quite a heavy piece of reality for a supposedly comic writer doesn't it? A few girls at my school became pregnant: not unusual now but then a matter of some scandal and gossip. Most had their babies adopted, as did half a million women between 1963 and 1969. The idea was, that if a single girl wanted the best for her child, she had to give it away to someone better equipped to take care of it. There was no expectation of any further contact. Ever.

Somehow I still found plenty of opportunity for humour in this book. A character from the one I tried (and failed) to write when I was a nineteen year-old wannabe novelist is also recycled here: I gave Large Antonia a cameo role as a corpse and a betrayed wife.