Title: The Colour of Milk (Goodreads)
Author: Nell Leyshon
Published: Fig Tree, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Kindle
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Kindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
Mary is a sharp tongued fifteen year old farm girl who has a strong desire to learn how to read and write. “In this year of lord eighteen hundred and thirty one” you follow the journal of a poor and disabled girl who should have no rights going against the odds to achieve what she always wanted; the ability to read and write.
The Colour of Milk is written in a personal journal over the four seasons of a year. Mary is the youngest of four daughters living in the house of a man who really wanted sons; she cops the worst from him; his anger and frustration finds her being given to the local vicar to act as his domestic servant and care for his invalid wife. It is the vicar that she pesters to teach her to read and write and eventually he does. This book follows the growing relationship between the two as she begins to learn.
Mary is a spirited girl and her natural honesty often gets her into trouble but she is a wonderful character and the relationships with her family and the vicar, along with battling against her sex and class makes this an eccentric little book. There is a simplification and beauty to the prose of this book, and with the quirky character of the narrative, makes this pure joy to read.
I will admit it did take me a little bit to get used to, the lack of punctuation really though me off but the fact that it’s a journal of a girl learning to write I had to accept the fact that I shouldn’t expect perfection in the writing styles of a girl still learning to write. I have to say this is an adorable little book that gave me great pleasure in reading. Elegant and beautiful in a very simple way.