What a Life! is in part a family saga depicting how a loving, caring and generous people are subjected to cruel treatment and calamities; murder, pestilence and abuse included. However, the work is primarily concerned with the life of one of the granddaughters whose innocence, loving nature, incredible naivety and natural beauty are taken advantage of.
After escaping from attempted sexual abuse she falls into the hands of an occupying force who do abuse her and leave her for dead. Rescued by a local family she is ultimately, after many hardships, restored to her relatives through whom she meets a foreign national. Domestic violence and a change of country follow where a murder is contemplated.
Left on her own with a child when single parenthood was not an accepted condition this book goes on to record how Tanya coped with the social attitudes and conditions of the time and to depict the many varied and difficult circumstances she faced including intimidation by pimps and facing a man with a gun.
It also gives an account of the many interesting, wealthy and highly positioned people she comes into contact with and in many cases befriends.