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The Colour of Milk

milk‘this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand’

The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father’s farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar’s invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her – and the need to record it so urgently – are gradually revealed.

Praise for The Colour of Milk

‘Haunting, distinctive voices… Mary’s spare simple words paint brilliant pictures in the reader’s mind… Nell Leyshon’s imaginative powers are considerable’
– Independent

‘The narrative is so direct, so guileless, that the reader feels completely drawn in, as homesick as Mary herself for the known world of her farmhouse. The story is shocking and haunting, turning suddenly and violendy dark. Read it, in one sitting’
– Spectator

‘Brontë-esque undertones… a disturbing statement on the social constraints faced by 19th-century women’
– Financial Times

‘A small tour de force – a wonderfully convincing voice, and a devastating story told with great skill and economy’
– Penelope Lively

‘I loved it. The Colour of Milk is charming, Brontë-esque, compelling, special and hard to forget. I loved Mary’s voice – so inspiring and likeable. Such a hopeful book’
Marian Keyes

‘Leyshon is a master of domestic suspense . . . Slender but compelling, the charm is to be found as much in its spare, evocative style as in the moving candour of its narrator’
– Observer

‘Leyshon’s novel has a powerful impact. .. one is wholly submerged in the horrific events . . . skilfully captures the young girl’s steadily growing confidence in her writing’
– Independent

International praise for The Colour of Milk:

“Nell Leyshon calls on the spirit of the Brontës in The Colour of Milk
– Vanity Fair

“Taut, moving… Mary could have stepped out of the pages of a Thomas Hardy novel”
– SeattleTimes

“Resonant, heartbreaking… The Colour of Milk is a truly wonderful read – a slender, beautiful novel with as much heart as a book twice its size”
– San Francisco Chronicle

“The unflinching, observant and thoroughly persuasive voice of the narrator, a shrewd, illiterate farm girl, makes this slim novel striking”
– Atlantic

“A very powerful monologue that astonishes with its perfect correspondence between narrative invention and story”
– La Repubblica

“An unforgettable, heart wrenching story that bit by bit is unfolded to the reader”
– Flow (Netherlands)

“Raw and tender at the same time”
– Wegner (Netherlands)

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