Cloth Girl

by Marilyn Heward Mills

Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Relationship Stories

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October 2007 Debut of the Month.

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award, this is a delight.  Set on Africa’s Gold Coast in the 1940s during the ten years leading up to Independence, it centres on two very different women, one black, one white, and their different views, particularly about what Africa means to each.  It’s warm, passionate, eventful stuff, full of the politics of the period, the cruelty of Africa, the ignorance of the colonials and the exhilaration of a fascinating period.  A lovely, lovely read.

Comparison: Jojo Moyes, Amitav Ghosh, Rani Manicker.

Sarah Broadhurst

Cloth Girl Synopsis

Matilda Quartey is fourteen years old when sophisticated black Gold Coast lawyer, Robert Bannerman, sets eyes on her and resolves to take her as his second wife. For Julie, his first wife, this is a colossal slap in the face; for Matilda it is an abrupt - and cruel - end to childhood. Entwined with their story - by turns funny and heartbreaking - is that of Alan Turton, new ADC to the Governor and his dissatisfied wife, Audrey, a hard-drinking accident waiting to happen, who is appalled by her new life.

Marilyn Heward Mills's Africa is a cauldron of contradictions: fatalistic but brimming with optimism; outwardly Christian, yet profoundly superstitious and reliant on fetish priests; poverty-stricken, but rich in pride and family values; vibrant with colour yet darkened by violence; exhausting, yet exhilarating. For Matilda it is her passionately loved homeland; for Audrey it is a prison. For the men it is a land of opportunity, where careers can be made and broken, fortunes lost and won. And for all of them the events of these ten years will shape and define their lives forever.

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Cloth Girl Press Reviews

‘In this vivid and assured first novel, two women meet across a yawning social divide . . . Warm, moving, delightful’ The Times 

‘Mills offers, through Matilda’s eyes, a rich celebration of the country . . . This unusual tale of the colonial experience hits the spot’ Guardian
 
'Heward Mills deftly captures the ironic pity each feels for the other's situation. Written with fluency and confidence, this is an impressive debut’ New Statesman

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780751538151
Publication date: 04/10/2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780751538151
Publication date: 04/10/2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780751538151
Publication date: 4th October 2007
Author: Marilyn Heward Mills
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 592 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Marilyn Heward Mills

Marilyn Heward Mills was born in Switzerland in 1968 to a Swiss mother and a Ghanaian father. She grew up in Accra, Ghana and came to England to study law at Durham University in 1988. She qualified as an English solicitor and a member of the New York Bar, and practised English and US law in the City of London for many years until she decided in 2003 to concentrate on writing. She has a husband and two young children and lives in South London.

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