As the war drew to a close, its heavy toll weighed mightily on Stella Benson's heart. Any means of escape was viable, as long as it took her truth with it. Living Alone, the most fantastical and delightfully wayward of her first three novels, was her exhausted mind's perfect project for the times. In the dark days of 1918, Sarah Brown, who is a little tired and dispirited, and also not completely well, is minding her own business, doing what she ought in helping the poor in her rundown part of London. She is the much put-upon dogsbody of a small committee designed to assist needy cases. At the latest dull meeting with Mrs Meta Ford, Lady Arabel Higgins and the Mayor there is an extraordinary interruption as a youngish woman storms into the room and hides under the table. It eventuates that she is being chased for the capital crime of stealing a bun from a baker's shop! This crazy meeting is a critical one in Sarah's life. The young woman, whose name is never quite clear, turns out to be something quite unexpected - a witch. Sarah forms a bond with her, fascinated by this explosion of magic in a desperately hurt and drab world. As she meets the witch's outre associates and talks the kind of wildly honest sense with her that has seemed missing for so long, she finds herself on adventures involving forbidden sandwiches, soldiers who are wizards, meeting ghosts in an air raid shelter, and cloudfights with an evil German witch, all punctuated with her witch's little paper packets of magic, whose effects tend to turn dreary people into fascinating beings. This intriguing novel of great tenderness and smart wit also betrays the sense of enervated tension that was prevalent in Britain after five long years of horror. It is a plaintive cry for peace, beauty and humanity in a world made brutal. Living Alone was first published in 1919.