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The Colour of Milk

‘Imaginatively conceived, Nell Leyshon has perfectly captured characters in beautiful prose filled with truth, hope and anticipation that makes this novel a pure joy to read.’

Sandeep Mahal
Head of the Reading Partners Scheme at The Reading Agency


‘this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand’

The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father’s farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar’s invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her – and the need to record it so urgently – are gradually revealed.

The Colour of Milk is written in farm girl Mary’s unforgettably powerful and unique voice. This is the story of how she learned to write, and the horrifying consequences of this coming to pass.

About Nell Leyshon:

Nell Leyshon is a playwright and novelist. Her first novel, Black Dirt, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth prize. Her plays include Comfort me with Apples, which won an Evening Standard Award, and Bedlam, which was the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare’s Globe. She writes for BBC Radio 3 and 4, and won the Richard Imison Award for her first radio play. Nell was born in Glastonbury and lives in Dorset.

The Colour of Milk is published by Fig TreeRead a review of The Colour of Milk here.