Tag: Midlands

Sue Reid – Mill Girl | Review

Title: Mill Girl

Author: Sue Reid

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 224

Rating: 3.5/5

I read this book because it came with a whole bunch of others that I bought as a job lot on eBay. It stood out because it’s part of a Scholastic line that focusses on historical fiction, and it’s also pretty cool because it takes the form of a diary.

We’ve got a young female protagonist living in Victorian Manchester and who works in a Mill, and so you know going in that she’s going to have a pretty tough life. At the same time, the book’s clearly aimed at younger readers and so there’s nothing here that’s so intense that it would stop a parent from reading it to their kids.

But to be honest, the point here is more to educate kids about what it was like back in the day, and I think it does a pretty good job of that. Even though it’s written the way it is, in an episodic format based on diary entries, the author actually manages to do an impressive job of worldbuilding, and so it’s easy to feel as though you can smell the city.

Plus I’m originally from the Midlands, which makes me an honourary northerner. I was always going to like it. A nice find!

Learn more about Mill Girl.

Sarah Henshaw – The Bookshop That Floated Away | Review

Title: The Bookshop That Floated Away

Author: Sarah Henshaw

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 260

Rating: 8/10


Sarah Henshaw - The Bookshop That Floated Away

Sarah Henshaw – The Bookshop That Floated Away


This is the true story of Sarah Henshaw and her book barge, the adventures of a former journalist who, deciding that city life wasn’t for her, decided to buy a barge (called ‘Joseph‘) and kit it out as a bookshop. Sarah and Joseph are normally moored at Barton Marina in the Midlands, not far from where I grew up, but this book covers the six months in which they hit the road (so to speak) to sell books across the country.

Along the way, they get banned from Bristol, broken in to a couple of times and Joseph floats away by himself on numerous occasions. At one point, Sarah takes a break from the barge altogether and goes cycling to Hay-On-Wye in Wales, the book capital of the UK. It’s a beautiful place, and she goes there for a worthy reason – you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is, though.

Sarah’s writing style helps to keep you interested throughout, too – she reminds me of Stephen Fry, in that both of them have a way with words that immerses you in language. They don’t just get their point across, they do so while reminding you of just how varied and emotive the English language can be, when used correctly. Couple that with the fact that I’m familiar with most of the places she visited, and you can see why I enjoyed it!


Sarah Henshaw

Sarah Henshaw


Click here to buy The Bookshop That Floated Away.