Description: Early 1960s – Newcastle, UK
Editorial Description: When eleven-year-old Meggie's feckless Dad doesn't pay the coal man and they have no hot water she takes matters into her own hands. With her younger brother, Jack, she sets off to find the free coal she knows can be found in the pit heaps opposite their village. When she and Jack return home from their adventure, she's punished. Does she still love her dad? She’s not so sure and when she has to make a choice between going to live with her grandparents at their newsagent’s shop in Newcastle so she can go to the grammar school or staying in Shippon and going to the local secondary school she decides to leave home.
She soon finds herself in an ever bigger mess. Billy Fish and The Codmother are ripping off Meggie's grandparents. With her new friend, paperboy Dave Spedding, she tries to help, but finds herself trapped in a dangerous situation.
Growing pains, a new school, dealing with Billy Fish’s threats against her grandparents and coping with long-hidden family secrets stretch Meggie's resourcefulness and strength of character to the limit. (66,000 words)
On reading Meggie Blackthorn,
By Nick Nisbet (New York, USA)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Elizabeth Jasper's Meggie Blackthorn; a coming of age tale with a strong and distinctive young heroine, growing up, initially, in a large and growing working class family in Shippon, a pit village near Newcastle upon Tyne. Jasper's two strengths are in creating a protagonist who elicits genuine and sustained sympathy from the reader, and a talent for evoking a particular era and a particular class; the work is redolent with period imagery and reference; Meccano; Eagle comics; the Eleven Plus; Woodbines; Teddy boys; dolly mixtures; the Jukebox Jury; and there is a sense conveyed, too, of a culture on the cusp of change. With such an endearing character, a memorable supporting cast of minor characters, (such as The Codmother) and concise, unaffected prose, the book is an enjoyable read that, for those of a certain age and background, will also be pleasantly nostalgic.
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