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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
I found The Colour of Milk original, convincing in it's main character's world picture, innovative linguistically, and unafraid. It's short and compelling, and while I was working to understand the language and the world created, I was immediately engaged. It was sort of a proto-type feminist story, where a woman exercises choice among a very limited set of options. The...
Published 20 months ago by wendy jones

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars good
Good... not great, shocking... but predictable in that women were exploited as a rule during that time, and sad... because it still happens
Published 7 months ago by Karen Booth


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 1 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Hardcover)
I found The Colour of Milk original, convincing in it's main character's world picture, innovative linguistically, and unafraid. It's short and compelling, and while I was working to understand the language and the world created, I was immediately engaged. It was sort of a proto-type feminist story, where a woman exercises choice among a very limited set of options. The characters were very well drawn, even the minor ones, and it built, in hindsight, in a linear way towards it's conclusion. I was impressed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "this is my book and I am writing it by my own hand.", 8 Jun 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Paperback)
"this is my book and I am writing it by my own hand."

Mary is one of four sisters, working on the family farm, her father harsh and unloving, her mother bowed to the inevitable, and her grandfather the only one with humour and love in him for her, and she for him. And then she is sent away to care for the vicar's wife. Mary's story of 1831, the year of her life when all changed is brief, not even 200 pages, and is given to the reader in the form of her own narrative, written in an uncultured and unlearned way, but true to the soul she carries with her and to the voice she finds within herself.

"I am not very tall and my hair is the colour of milk."

This is a lovely yet poignantly sad book, one which must have been echoed for centuries by girls all over England and Europe. Once read, never forgotten. This is the story of one young girl whose story deserved to be told. Totally recommended.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Short but a Worthwhile Read, 22 May 2012
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Hardcover)
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This is a tiny book which not only is a mere 170 pages or thereabouts but also measures only some six inches by four inches. I read through it in a couple of hours as many will. However, for all that it was an original and well thought out tale written in her own words in 1831 by Mary.

Mary is from an extremely humble background. Her family are farmers, and at the age of 14 Mary works from dawn to dusk under the rather tyrannical direction of her father , as do her three sisters. She has never been educated, has one set of clothing and shares a bed with one of her sisters. However, when her father comes to an arrangement with the local vicar for Mary to help with looking after his ailing wife, Mary is initially reluctant as this job is so far removed from what she is used to.

Despite the disadvantages of her birth, Mary is a very feisty young lady, who speaks her own mind and, as she says herself, is incapable of lying. When there is a possibility of learning to read and write she is extremely enthusiastic. However, eventually she feels obliged to use her newly obtained skills to write her story and explain what has happened and how she has found herself in her current situation. As it is written in her words, there is very little in the way of punctuation, apart from splitting the story into sentences and paragraphs. That apart there are no capital letters, commas etc. However, this adds to the atmosphere and does not make the narrative at all difficult to read.

This is a very unusual book, but the presentation works well and Mary herself is an interesting and appealing character. Short it may be, but it is nonetheless a worthwhile read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary, 19 May 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Hardcover)
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Okay, I get books for reviewing, sometimes you are lucky, you get ones that you wanted anyway, other times you see books that you know you should quite like, or on subjects you are interested in. But at times something just makes you get something, with no idea what it will be like. That is what happened with this, it was the title that caught my attention. I had never even heard of Nell Leyshon before, or that she had already written a few other books.

This book will not necessarily be everyone's idea of a good read, and I feel I should point out that although you can't tell by the title, or the blurb, this is not a children's book, due to the nature of the subject matter this is about.

The story takes place in 1830-31 and is narrated by Mary herself. Mary starts off in this book as fourteen, but is fifteen by the end, and it is worth remembering that whilst you read the tale. She is the youngest of four daughters, her parents have no sons, and they all live in a small farm house with the grandad. Their father is a violent man, and having all daughters to help with the farm work is obviously not an ideal situation. When he is offered pay to send Mary to the vicarage to help as a maid and look after the lady of the house, he jumps at the idea.

The forthright Mary is thus sent on her way, and she soon finds things very different to working in the fields each day. She also eventually comes to be taught reading and writing by the vicar, but at a price. As we follow Mary's tale of what that price is and the subsequent actions we are held spellbound. I was at first put off a bit by the writing in this book, as if Mary had only just learnt to read and write then there should be a lot of mistakes in the text, but there isn't, but I think that is probably purposely done, so that it is easier to read and you can get on with the story that bit better. Mary's story is powerful, and it is such a thing that could so easily happen, and with slightly different circumstances does still happen today. This book may only be relatively small, and easily read in an afternoon, but Mary and her story will stay with you for a long time afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1830 - 1831 in Rural England, 2 Jun 2013
By 
HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Hardcover)
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I have had this book for quite a while without reviewing it & this is because of its size. The book is 11cm x 15cm and the print is very, very small!! and although there are only 172 pages of text, whenever I picked it up in the evening, even with glasses, I just could not read it.

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and I sat out in the garden and read it in the afternoon with the good light.

Oh it is SO GOOD but so very SAD.

Mary, who has hair the Colour of Milk, is 15 in 1831 and this is her account of the past year - "writing it by my own hand."

The book is written in a lovely youthful style from Mary's point of view - written with the minimum of punctuation, there are no capital letter, no speech marks - you have to work it out yourself as you read.

Mary is a poor farm girl - the youngest of 4 girls ... this is her life ... and it is sad ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real find, 22 Mar 2013
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I bought this on the recommendation of a friend and after reading some reviews. I loved the precision of the writing, and the voice of the central character is both vivid and true. It's a great challenge to assume the voice of a young girl who is just about literate and who is totally uneducated. I'm looking forward to reading more of this new writer's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fantastic!, 2 Feb 2013
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This small, simply-written book is a joy to read, despite its depressing themes. I laughed my way through much of it; the protagonist's feisty attitude and hilarious verbal responses were just wonderful.

I also loved the way the book was written as if by a girl who's only recently learned to read and write; it made the character that much more believable and endearing. I've seen claims online that writing like this is a stylistic cheat but it certainly worked for me.

I only wish the book had been slightly longer, as I finished it in two short sittings and couldn't get into anything else that night after such a treat. But for an author to leave a reader wanting more shows considerable talent.

If you like this you'll probably like Snake Ropes, Cassandra at the Wedding, Florence & Giles, and Small Hours.

4.5 Stars- Highly Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Colour of Milk (Paperback)
For a short book it is well written and incredibly enjoyable. I read this on a flight to teneriffe and I was so absorbed by the book I didn't notice the turbulence
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 11 Nov 2013
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I gave this book top stars as I loved it, just couldn't put it down, great read. I would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!, 27 Oct 2013
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Really enjoyed this book. Unusual format, but you fall into it so easily. It grips you right away - can understand how some reviewers read it in one sitting! Loved it.
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The Colour of Milk: Novel
The Colour of Milk: Novel by Nell Leyshon (Hardcover - 26 Dec 2012)
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