The book I want to find is titled Betty. It may have a subtitle, but I can’t recall it. I read this several times from cover to cover before I was 12, and oddly can’t recall the name of the author, but it made a great impression on me. I had found in my grandmother’s home, and I never knew who, from among the family, was the original owner/reader. The volume went missing when I was at college.
I infer that Betty was set in Australia, because when the young woman who is the protagonist and title character goes to the big city to make her way, I recall it was “Sydney”. Betty was one of several siblings, and with her twin, Cyril, the next born after Dot (for Dorothy). She had a tempestuous relationship with one of the younger ones, Nancy, made more difficult since the loss of their mother and Dot’s job away from the home put Betty in the role of surrogate mother and homemaker. Betty judged herself very harshly for the unkempt condition of the house and children, who ran amuck while Betty spent long hours writing fiction. Their father was at with them in the home, and very loving but not about very much. At one point, one of the small children went missing for several hours before being found unhurt, and Betty so blamed herself that she conducted a midnight funeral ceremony to bury her writing materials “forever”. For a while, the children were regularly bathed and the house neatly maintained. Not long after, she dug up her writing materials and resumed her writing. By some luck, she was offered a writing job in Sydney, where she went to live in a flat and had an adventure.
My guess at to the era the book was written and published would be the 1930’s. There are just a few clues in the transportation and communication as described in the book, and the well-worn cloth-bound style, paper and fonts.