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The Colour of Milk

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


"this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand."

Mary and her three sisters rise every day to backbreaking farmwork that threatens to suppress their own awakening desires, whether it's Violet's pull toward womanhood or Beatrice's affinity for the Scriptures. But it's their father, whose anger is unleashed at the slightest provocation, who stands to deliver the most harm. Only Mary, fierce of tongue and a spitfire since birth, dares to stand up to him. When he sends her to work for the local vicar and his invalid wife in their house on the hill, he deals her the only blow she may not survive.

Within walking distance of her family farm, the vicarage is a world away–a curious, unsettling place unlike any she has ever known. Teeming with the sexuality of the vicar's young son and the manipulations of another servant, it is also a place of books and learning–a source of endless joy. Yet as young Mary soon discovers, such precious knowledge comes at a devastating price, as is gradually made clear once she begins the task of telling her own story.

Reminiscent of Alias Grace in the exploration of the power dynamics between servants and those they serve and of Celie's struggles in The Color Purple, this quietly devastating tour de force reminds us that knowledge can destroy even as it empowers.

Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 15, 2012 – Mary, the 15-year-old narrator of Leyshon’s new novel (after Bedlam), is a young English farm girl with more promise than prospects. The year is 1831 and her family—parents, three older sisters, and grandfather—beats down any spirit or ambition Mary might show. In spite of this, she learns to read and write, taking more pleasure and pride in her skills than in her farm work. When the vicar’s housemaid leaves, Mary’s father accepts payment to send Mary to tend to the vicar’s ailing wife, largely because Mary “ain’t exactly doing the work of a man down here.” As she tells her own story, Mary reveals herself as a pawn in the hands of the powerful. That she has chosen to set down this tale is her one daring act. The stylized language—biblical, colloquial, minimal—and restrained emotion save the story from soap opera melodrama, but also distance readers from Mary’s brief bursts of happiness—with her grandfather and the family cow—as well as from her growing distresses. We see the tragic price she pays for wanting more through the wrong end of a telescope; it is terrible, but too far off to be truly devastating.
The Colour of Milk
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Dec 26, 2012
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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