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A Mile of River by Judith Allnatt

A Mile of River

Family Drama   Debuts of the Month   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A story of farming folk in the 1970s fighting for their living. A brute of a father dominates his eight-year old son and treats his 17-year old daughter like a skivvy. The mother walked out seven years earlier. How, why and what happened comes as quite a shock in this eventful tale of rural England. Most impressive.

Comparison: Susan Fletcher, Angela Huth, Mary Lawson (Other Side of the Bridge).

If you like Judith Allnatt you might also like to read books by Sebastian Faulks, Louisa Young and Mary Lawson.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


A Mile of River by Judith Allnatt

It is 1976 and England is suffocating. The long, dry spring has given way to a summer of severe drought, with standpipes in the streets and a rallying cry to 'save water, share a bath!' For the farmers, life has become a living hell - a daily struggle to make ends meet. The fields are tinder dry, the earth is dusty and scorched and the rivers are drying up to a trickle. Jess and Tom live on a remote farm in the English countryside with their increasingly difficult and brutal father, Henry.Their mother, Sylvie, walked out years before and Jess is struggling with the role of mother figure to Tom, as well as skivvy and hired hand for her father. Jess just wants to be a normal teenager, to go to dances and kiss boys, to take her exams and dream of a future far away from milking cows and ploughing fields. Daydreaming about her mother's return, Jess discovers Sylvie's old diary and begins to uncover the shocking truth about her disappearance. As the drought grips ever tighter, as the water level of the river begins to drop, the menace in the air builds until it reaches boiling point, with a confrontation between Jess and her father that has devastating consequences.

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About the Author

Judith Allnatt

Judith Allnatt is an acclaimed short story writer and novelist. Her first novel, A Mile of River, was a BBC Radio 5 Book of the Month and was shortlisted for the Portico Prize for Literature; her second novel, The Poet’s Wife, was shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award. Her short stories have featured in the Bridport Prize Anthology, the Commonwealth Short Story Awards and on BBC Radio 4. She lives with her family in Northamptonshire.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th July 2009


Judith Allnatt

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Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd




Family Drama
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups



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