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The Colour of Milk

A Novel

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.


The Colour of Milk is a literary tour de force of power, class, and fate, told in the fierce, urgent voice of the irrepressible Mary, a character as indelible as The Color Purple’s Celie and Margaret Atwood’s eponymous Alias Grace.

Set in England in 1830, The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon is an emotionally haunting work of historical fiction — hailed as “charming, Brontë-esque...and hard to forget” (Marian Keyes) — about an illiterate farm girl’s emotional and intellectual awakening and its devastating consequences.

Mary, the spirited youngest daughter of an angry, violent man, is sent to work for the local vicar and his invalid wife. Her strange new surroundings offer unsettling challenges, including the vicar’s lecherous son and a manipulative fellow servant. But life in the vicarage also offers unexpected joys, as the curious young girl learns to read and write — knowledge that will come at a tragic price.

From Publishers Weekly

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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  • $6.99
  • 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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