The Black Sheep by Susan Hill

About the book


Brother and sister, Ted and Rose Howker, grew up in Mount of Zeal, a mining village blackened by coal. They know nothing of the outside world, though both of them yearn for escape. For Rose this comes in the form of love, while Ted seizes the chance of a job away from the pit. But neither can truly break free and their decisions bring with them brutal consequences…


Reviewed by Itchen

“The story is set in a North Yorkshire mining community and is the tragedy of one family. It is a well written, short book but the author tells her story well. There are several issues to be explored by a book group which include family, community, gender inequality and the struggle to survive. If the test of the book is to tell about the human condition, this one certainly does”

star rating ****

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines

About the book

Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life. Barry Hines’s acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world.

Reviewed by Andover Library Reading Group:

Although a number of people found this book rather bleak and sad, some of us loved the poetry of the writing. We were very sympathetic with the main character and optimistically hoped that he woke to a brighter future than ‘down the pit’.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set