The Colours by Juliet Bates (Hardcover)

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Da said the Pearson family came out of the sand. He said they were born out of the red clarty sand that stuck to the soles of boots and the hems of frocks.

You couldn't just brush the sand away, you had to beat your clothes with the palm of your hand like you were smacking them for being naughty. You had to bang your boots against the doorstep and find a knife to gouge away the sand that clung to the heels and round the stitching.

Ellen has a unique view of the world but living in a tiny town in the north-east of England, in a world on the cusp of war, no one has time for an orphaned girl who seems a little odd. When she is taken in to look after a rich, elderly widow things seem to be get better, despite musty curtains and an aging employer completely out of touch with the world. But pregnancy out of wedlock spoils all this, and Ellen is unable to cope. How will Jack, her son, survive - alone in the world as his mother was? Can they eventually find their way back to each other?

The Colours is a sweeping novel of how we can lose ourselves, and our loved ones, for fans of Kate Atkinson and Virginia Baily.

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