The Colour of Milk
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The Colour of Milk

3.8 (2,681 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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, Bronte-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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 171 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • Ecco Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 006219206X
  • 9780062192066
  • 625,620

Review quote

"Nell Leyshon has beautifully captured a voice that haunts, long after the last word has been read. Brava!"--Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House
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Back cover copy

Mary and her three sisters rise every day to backbreaking farm work 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 own family farm, the vicarage is a world away-a curious, unsettling place unlike any she has 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 with a devastating price as it is made gradually 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 The Color Purple's Celie, The Colour of Milk is a quietly devastating tour de force that reminds us that knowledge can destroy even as it empowers.
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Rating details

2,681 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 25% (678)
4 40% (1,081)
3 25% (671)
2 8% (211)
1 1% (40)
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