Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YOGAZ to 80360 or send an email»
The colour of milk by Nell Leyshon (Fig Tree £12.99, Penguin eBook, £8.99)
12:48pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Books
MARY is a young girl who grows up on her father’s farm in the early to mid-19th century. She shares her life with her three sisters, her mother, father and grandfather and the animals she tends.
It is a hard life and her father, having always wanted a son, works his daughters with hardness and almost cruelty. They all wish to escape.
Mary has her chance when she is ordered to go and work at the local vicarage where she is told to look after Mrs Graham, the vicar’s wife, who is seriously ill. They form a bond and for a short while Mary seems content. Then Mrs Graham dies and everything changes.
Mary is taught to read and write by the vicar which enables her to record her story in 1831 to us, the reader. She feels desperate to tell us, in her simple hand, her account of what happens and only gradually we understand the urgency of her tale.
This is a beautifully-written narrative that recalls a time where everything seemed straight forward even though it was not always comfortable.
We observe not only the differences between the rich and the poor but also the basics of human nature that remain the same regardless of wealth and poverty.
It is very moving and recalls the novels of Thomas Hardy.