Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

92
4.5 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 March 2013
Mary is fourteen years old when her story begins in 1830; she is one of four sisters who live on a farm with their brutal father and their over-worked mother. Mary has, she tells us, hair the colour of milk and, we learn from her narrative, she would be pretty if it were not for her deformed leg. At the outset of her story, we learn that Mary makes the best of her hard life; she works on the farm, toiling in the fields, milking the cows, helping her mother with the housework and the cheese-making, and she enjoys spending time with her bedridden grandfather, who is a much kinder and more understanding man than Mary's father.

When the local vicar's wife becomes ill and additional help is needed at the vicarage, Mary's father arranges for her to live and work at the vicarage until she is no longer needed. Although Mary has no wish to leave the farm, she knows it is useless arguing with her father, who will only answer with physical violence, so she makes the best of the situation and, although she suffers from homesickness and misses her grandfather, she gets on with her lot in life at the vicarage. Fortunately the vicar takes a liking to Mary and her honest outspokeness, as does his ailing wife, and when the vicar decides he will teach Mary to read and write, Mary begins to realise that if she wants to become literate, she will need to stay at the vicarage for longer than she initially thought. But then something shocking happens which changes everything for everyone involved, and it is here that the reader learns of the very high price that Mary must pay for her education - but I shall leave the details for prospective readers to discover.

A beautifully presented novel (I have the American edition) 'The Colour of Milk', in a first-person narrative, tells the absorbing story of Mary's life during the year 1830-31 and, Mary tells us, written by her own hand - which explains the appearance and content of the text, with its lack of capital letters, weak grammar and insufficient punctuation and, although I found the style a little disconcerting initially, I soon became acclimatised to the presentation once I became really involved in the story. The author, Nell Leyshon, who is an award-winning playwright, has created a wonderfully refreshing heroine in Mary, with her candour and native wit; she is a character who makes the best of her situation, measuring out her life by the routines of the animals and the slow turn of the seasons, but still keen to learn and improve her situation. I read this slim but compelling novel in one sitting, totally drawn into Mary's life and landscape and almost sorry to leave her at the end of the story. I am now interested in looking at Nell Leyshon's previous novels and am considering Devotion which I believe was the author's previous book to this.

4 Stars.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The four seasons of one year are vividly portrayed in the words of Mary, who starts off the year as an illiterate farm girl. She is taken from the harsh environs of her family farm and is made to work for the local minister and his ailing wife. Mary has only ever known hard work and poverty but her strength of will and determination to survive is paramount and even though life throws her a raw deal, it is her ability to speak her mind, which is at the heart of this beautifully written novella.

At first the composition, which is narrated in Mary's own words takes some getting used to and the lack of proper punctuation can be a little disconcerting, but putting this to one side, what really comes through is Mary's voice, and as her tale unfolds, I found that her voice became incredibly moving.

In many respects this is a quick read but it's certainly not light on content. I found Mary to be a feisty heroine and I grew too really like and respect her. The dénouement when it comes is profoundly shocking and will stay with me for a long time.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The 'Colour of Milk' by Nell Leyshon is a powerful story told in the first person, and that person is a fifteen year old girl called Mary who has hair the colour of milk and a sharp tongue. The year is 1831 and Mary is leading a harsh life working on her father's farm with her three sisters. During the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar's wife, while she is there something happens to her and she feels compelled to record the truth of what happens, urgently, and through this story we the reader gradually discover, what and why.

Mary tells her story in simple words with little care in punctuation, this is portrayed brilliantly by the author Nell Leyshon who uses this unique method to carry the reader gradually and unforgettably through four seasons of one year in Mary's life.

Although this is a short novel it is extremely powerful and I found myself reading this book in one sitting, so much so was the need to find out what had happened.

A brilliant book and one you most certainly do not want to miss.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2013
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A short - and quite simple - story, but one that i found totally compelling. Narrated by Mary, one of the four daughters of a poor 1830s farming family, her life is hard, with a violent father. Her much-loved grandfather is disabled, waiting to die....
The other characters live at the vicarage up the road - Mr Graham, his invalid wife, and his promiscuous son Ralph...

I read it in one sitting and was enthralled by the childish writing of the only-just-literate Mary which draws you into her narrative. The only fault I found was that Mary's believability was somewhat hampered by her tendency to address her betters in the blunt manner of a 21st century teenager with attitude, which I think implausible for one of her class and upbringing.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 9 December 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mary is 14 years old at the start of this story, one that she is writing herself and that she promises is true. She lives with her parents, three sisters and grandfather on a farm; her life consists of constant hard work, putting up with an ill-tempered and mean father and the trials and hardships of rural life in 1830. Mary, however, has no self-pity, she does not complain, she sees things for what they are and is happy with her life. That is until her father arranges for her to go and live at the local vicarage to help look after the vicar's wife, who is ill.

At first it seems Mary has fallen on her feet. She is now living a life far more luxurious than before, her work is not so arduous, and the vicar's wife seems to love her like a daughter. But unfortunately, things soon start to go very badly wrong.

There's so much I loved about this book I don't know where to start. Mary's writing, without punctuation or capital letters, is easy to read, her voice is so fresh and alive that every word is a joy. Her personality shines through, and there are several joyously funny sections, especially when she first moves to the vicarage and has to get used to the airs and graces of the family.

The descriptions of the countryside and the farm are also beautiful, so simple and unpretentious but so descriptive that you feel the sunlight in the air and smell the hay.

And the story is so compelling, also simple, but incredibly affecting, especially as the reader begins to see where events are leading.

It's a small, short book, but perfectly formed. Can't recommend enough. Beautiful.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (Paperback - 14 Feb. 2013)
£7.89

Memoirs of a Dipper
Memoirs of a Dipper by Nell Leyshon (Hardcover - 4 Jun. 2015)
£13.99

Black Dirt
Black Dirt by Nell Leyshon (Hardcover - 21 May 2004)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.