Nancy Jackman was born in 1907 in a remote Norfolk village. Her father was a ploughman, her mother a former servant who struggled to make ends meet in a cottage so small that access to the single upstairs room was via a ladder.
The pace of life in that long-vanished world was dictated by the slow, heavy tread of the farm horse and though Nancy's earliest memories were of a green, sunny countryside still unspoiled by the motorcar, she also knew at first hand the harshness of a world where the elderly were forced to break stones on the roads and where school children were regularly beaten.
Nancy left school at the age of twelve to work for a local farmer who forced her to stand in the rain when she made a mistake, physically abused her and eventually tried to rape her.
Nancy continued to work as a cook until the 1950s, sustained by her determination to escape and find a life of her own.
The Cook's Tale shows you life below stairs as it really was and is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey.
Part of the Lives of Servants series. Other titles in the series are: The Maid's Tale, They Also Serve and Cocoa at Midnight.
Tom Quinn is the editor of the Country Landowner's Magazine. He has written several small books for small independent publishers. He has spent the last twenty years interviewing people who worked in domestic service, getting them to tell him their life stories.