Pigeon Summer came about because I wanted
to write a story based on the local history of the area
where I now live. Set in 1930, it’s about a miner’s
family suffering hardship during the Depression and
tells how Mary Dyer’s father has to leave home to look
for work, while she takes care of his beloved racing
Pigeon Summer received excellent reviews and
was shortlisted for both the Smarties Prize and the
W H Smith Mind-Boggling Books Award. It was also read
on Radio 5, dramatized on Radio 3, and made into a film
for Channel 4 Schools TV. When I came to think about
a new story I realised I had become so attached to the
Dyer family that I wanted to write more about them.
I ended up writing a trilogy which charts the fortunes
of a miner’s family from 1930 through to the early years
of the Second World War. Each book focuses on a different
child, while expanding the story of the family and neighbourhood.
In Pigeon Summer,
Mary and her mother have always been at odds with each
other, and things get worse when Mary insists on racing
her father’s pigeons.
“A warm, engrossing story which resonates
with quiet adventure.”
Books for Keeps.
In No Friend
of Mine, it’s 1937, and Lennie makes friends
with Ralph, the local mine-owner’s son. But can their
“This is a masterly book...with many strands,
and yet it is easy to read and exciting.”
In Room for
a Stranger, the date is 1941. Phyl and Mary
have left home, leaving Doreen with a room of her own
– and she doesn’t want to have to share it with an evacuee
“Turnbull combines an easy economy of style
with a sharp eye for detail, and...subtly choreographs
the girls’ uneasy relationship.”
Carey, The Guardian.