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Genes Book Club - Split Milk reviews

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GenesBookClub Advisor Report 10 Mar 2014 11:20

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to everyone selected to receive a free copy of Split Milk. We hope you enjoy reading it, and we'd love to hear what you think of the book!


Whizz Report 19 Mar 2014 15:49

Spilt Milk – Amanda Hodgkinson

Firstly may I thank Genes Reunited for giving me the opportunity to read this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was unfamiliar with the writer before I received the book but I feel motivated to seek out more of her work after reading Spilt Milk.

Immediately I read the title the rest of the saying popped in to my head, ‘No use crying over…..” and that does seem to sum up the stalwart attitudes of the main protagonists in this story as well as maybe a wider, more metaphoric meaning.

In many ways several aspects of the plot are predictable but the subtext carries you along relentlessly like the river in the novel, which I see as another metaphor running through the entire book.

There are rich descriptions of the Suffolk countryside that evoke the sights, sounds and smells of the country. And the atmosphere of the pre war London pub is almost cinematic in its exposition. But whatever the location the writing remains elegant yet economical without stinting on the necessary information.

But it is the women in the novel that carry everything along and draw all the strands together. Some may describe this as a family saga but it is deeper than most. The relationships between all the women from Rose through to Birdie’s granddaughter are bound by threads some so fragile you doubt they can hold with others so strong as to be indestructible.

And the much-worked literary theme of whether history repeats itself through the generations is fundamental to the plot, and possibly contributed to the predictability. But it is less the events that grab our attention more the effect on these women that give the novel its strength.


Patricia Report 24 Mar 2014 20:05

Spilt Milk by Amanda Hodgkinson.
I enjoyed this story of two sisters which begins with them as young girls living in poverty in the country just before World War 1 and follows them and their families until they are old ladies.
The characters of the girls and women in the story are well drawn but the male characters are less well rounded and not as important except as accessories to the plot which has some interesting twists and turns.
The settings in the countryside and in London are very well described and give the story atmosphere.
I was left feeling that I would like to read the author's first book and will look out for her next.


Morag Report 28 Mar 2014 21:51

Spilt milk was a thought- provoking read, concentrating as it does on the family relationships of three generations of women. The characters were well drawn and the descriptions evocative. The plot revolves around the secrets each woman feels impelled to keep and the effects of the secrets many years after the event.
This is an a absorbing book and I would recommend it. Thanks very much, Genes Reunited, for giving me the opportunity to read this book.


Lesley Report 29 Mar 2014 12:04

Spilt Milk – Amanda Hodgkinson
The introduction of this book promised a great read. Who was Nellie? What were the dark secrets of the river? Who were the Marsh sisters? Who did the children belong to? What happened before that idyllic river picnic day which had caused Nellie to reflect upon her past? The first chapter of part one continued to tempt me to read on. At that time I believed that the description on the back cover was underselling the book as this was going to be a mystery and a comment on society. The author’s style and prose are engaging and a delight to read. Her descriptions of the countryside and North East London are excellent. I think that I would have enjoyed the book more if the plot had been more substantial. I found the endless arrival of unwanted/unexpected/born out of wedlock children repetitive. Five had arrived by the time I had read half the book then more arrived for good measure. Whilst the birth of children out of wedlock was not considered proper during the fifty years or so covered by the book, there did not seem to be any tension between the mothers, torn between guilt and maternal love for their children and society’s reaction to them. The book was set in two closely knit communities so a degree of conflict could have been included. There was no explanation why Connie coped with life as an unmarried mother but Vivian, Nellie and Birdie could not. Why did it take so long for Birdie to react so strongly at the loss of her first child? I believe that more description of the tension felt by the characters in their day to day life would have added so much to the novel. Yes, the husband Charles did react to the revelations told to him by his wife, or we are led to believe that he does towards the end of the book; this is only reported after the event, the reader does not have first-hand experience of his thoughts or how he reunites with his estranged wife Birdie, save turning up on at the front door to reclaim his wife. On one hand, this is a beautifully scripted book with excellent description; on the other hand, for me this is a book with a light and somewhat repetitive plot, which is a shame as I had expected that this book was going to be more profound.


Kellie Report 31 Mar 2014 13:32

Spilt Milk

Brilliant! It was so beautifully written, and the characters were so extremely likeable that I found myself transported to that time and place. I also loved how it moved effortlessly from year to year. Definitely an author who I shall watching out for!



GenesBookClub Advisor Report 1 Apr 2014 17:18

Hi everyone,

Thank you for taking the time to review Spilt Milk. It's great to hear what everyone thought of the book. Your comments have been passed to Penguin.


The Book Club


AngieP Report 1 Apr 2014 17:55

I loved the Book Spilt Milk, got so involved with the sisters lives I coulnd't put it down. The author had me enthralled and almost felt I was there. Really enjoyed. Thank you.


Winifred Report 2 Apr 2014 22:28

This is a brilliant book.The descriptive passages are well drawn and evoke atmosphere of both London and the countryside. The characters were likeable and well defined. The women more so than the men. This is a real page turner and very engaging.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking out for work by the same author in future. Thank you for the opportunity Genes Reunited.


Dorothy Report 6 Apr 2014 15:58

Spilt Milk - Amanda Hodgkinson
I realy enjoyed this book just the type of story that i like, i found it difficult to put down. I have not read anything by this author befor but i will be looking for more to come.

Thank you.


Emma Report 6 Apr 2014 18:53

Spilt milk - Amanda Hodgkinson
Thank you for this very enjoyable book.
I loved every page of it, the story about children being passed on and the secrets they hold. Just up my street. will be looking out for more books of this author and will lend to a couple of friends who enjoy these stories. Thank you :-)


TeresainWirral Report 10 Apr 2014 17:39

Loved the book and the characters and setting by the river, I wanted to know what happened to the adopted daughter.


Anne Report 11 Apr 2014 11:42

I found this to be mostly enjoyable, though it was getting rather muddled and rushed towards the end. What struck me at first was the innocence and ignorance of the two young sisters, and then the unfolding of family secrets and their consequences. Giving a baby up for adoption definitely struck a cord with me, and all its unresolved grief.


Pammy51 Report 23 Apr 2014 11:13

Spilt Milk By Amanda Hodgkinson

Well, if you take 'Spilt Milk' to refer to illegitimacy there was certainly an abundance of that!
The flow of the book, telling the stories of two sisters and their families, from pre-WW1 to the 1960s is well managed, without those jarring jumps in time you get in some sagas. However, because the scope of time was so great there was not room to include the details of some people's lives I would have loved to have known, like how did Rose manage to get pregnant twice? The descriptions of the hardship faced by the three Marsh girls and their feelings about the secrets each one was burdened with are vivid.
An enjoyable book, I too will be looking out for other novels by this author.