Born into a joyless, volatile and, by turns, impoverished family, Rosemary Kingsland tells for the first time her story of how, at just thirteen, her life was transformed forever when she met and fell in love with the actor Richard Burton.
In this extraordinary memoir the writer and journalist recounts growing up first in India, then Wales, and finally, post-war London where she lived with her drunken, and endlessly scheming father and her melancholic, mother eking out a living with barely enough money for the basic necessities.
Home life was an endless cycle of her father's flagrant infidelities and savage outbursts and her mother's breakdowns, often leaving Rosemary to see to her young siblings, all the while keeping a paper round and riding to school each day dreaming of something else - something better.
In 1954, the young Richard Burton was causing a sensation in London's theatre land with both his talent as an actor and his arresting, brooding good looks commanding attention from producers and hoards of adoring fans alike. Rosemary first knew of him when she went with her father to hear a reading of 'Under Milk Wood' at once captivated by his magnetic gaze.
And here at the core of her story, Rosemary tells how a later, accidental meeting with Burton marked the start of a passionate, intense relationship that, for a time at least, allowed her to escape from the sadness of her isolation into an entirely new and dazzling world.