Amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of inner-city Surry Hills, money is scarce and life is not easy. Crammed together within the thin walls of Twelve-and-a-Half Plymouth Street are the Darcy family- Mumma, loving and softhearted; Hughie, her drunken husband; pipe-smoking Grandma; Roie, suffering torments over her bitter-sweet first love; while her younger sister Dolour learns about life the hard way.
Born in New Zealand, Ruth Park came to Australia in 1942 to continue her career as a journalist. She married the writer D'Arcy Niland and travelled with him through the north-west of New South Wales before settling in Sydney where she became a full-time writer. She has written over fifty books, and her many awards include the prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings; the Australian Children's Book of the Year Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA) for Playing Beatie Bow and The Age Book of the Year Award for A Fence Around the Cuckoo.