welcome to our book reviews and news page
recent publications and classic reads revisited
covering a wide range of genre, taste and style
please join in the discussion
Monday, 30 August 2010
The Bone Mill
By Nicholas Corder
According to the blurb, ‘The Bone Mill’ is a novel for teenagers with a robust constitution. I would have to agree that it’s not for the faint-hearted, but as an adult reader I found it compelling.
Set in the potteries in the 1820s, ‘The Bone Mill’ follows the story of young Joseph Ryder who struggles to stay one step ahead of the workhouse. His world is reduced to a struggle to stay warm and fight off hunger. The novel joins him just as he is trying to make a way for himself in the world. Little does he know how complicated life is about to get.
Nicholas Corder paints Joseph’s world convincingly. Life in the Bone Mill is harsh, revolting and sometimes terrifying; and this account of it is unflinching and very real. The freezing weather during which the tale is set adds another layer of bleakness and the cold becomes another enemy for Joseph to overcome.
This novel draws you into Joseph’s world from the start. Will he ever get enough money together to buy a warm coat? Will his landlady Gerda be able to use her skills as a medium to contact his dead mother? And who is the man with the healing hands and why is he so important to Joseph?
I found this a gripping read which carried me through the story at a brisk pace towards the ending which brings a gut wrenching surprise with it.
Although aimed at young adults, I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the historical setting, and to anyone who appreciates a well-plotted and fast moving story. This was an excellent read.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt