A searing family story from one of our most beloved writers
The village is called Mount of Zeal. It’s built in a bowl like an amphitheater, with the winding gear where the stage would be. The pit lies below. Ted Howker’s school is on the edge of Lower Terrace next to the chapel. Upper Terrace—in a thunderous echo of the Bible so loved by Ted’s grandfather—is Paradise. Ted, his father, and his brothers live in Middle. In the beginning: a household of men, all of whom work in the pit.
Susan Hill is an exceptional writer at the height of her powers. Every word is precisely right: the descriptions of the village and the pit, the people and the farm are exact and true; the heartbreak is inevitable yet new; and the imagery and imagination take your breath away.
“This is a story of people living hard lives, narrow lives which nevertheless have their own dignity. It is beautifully, even lovingly, told, with not a superfluous word…Characters are sketched in a couple of sentences and fixed in your imagination. Manner is perfectly matched with matter; it’s impossible to suppose that the story could be better told.”—Scotsman
Susan Hill has written three Ruby Raccoon stories, including Ruby Bakes a Cake, Ruby Paints a Picture, and Ruby's Perfect Day. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters.