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Greener pastures and Brown Blazers


Edna Hunneysett

ISBN: 978-1-78382-5400
Published: 2020
Pages: 219


This book is semi-biographical.

In the nineteen fifties, when passing the eleven plus exam meant access to a grammar school, eleven-year-old Emma Holmes is thrust into the strict discipline and rigorous structured life at a convent grammar boarding school, separating her from her five siblings. She also leaves the idyllic setting of an isolated farm on the North Yorkshire moors where she has spent her childhood in a happy and carefree environment, notwithstanding the poverty and hardship and stark living conditions of life without electricity, with only access to water, a tap in the back kitchen fed from a spring in the field and with a two mile walk to the nearest village school.

Will Emma’s ability to achieve academically help her overcome her lack of confidence and the scrutiny from her daygirl class mates who find her broad Yorkshire accent amusing, who are amazed that she isn’t a regular attendee at a local cinema, that she has never been to a swimming baths and who are curious as to what she does in the evenings.

After arriving at the boarding school, how does Emma adapt to not seeing her family for seven weeks? Will life be the same when she returns home? Will two-year-old Jacob remember her?

Over the first years, Emma strives to fit in at school only to find she no longer feels that she is comfortable when returning to her home life at holiday time. She comes to realise that she doesn’t seem to fit in either place. What will her friend with whom she is bonding, make of her home situation, if she invites her for a holiday? Faith has her own issues with her mam being a single parent and no knowledge of her father. Will Emma’s family be a substitute one for her?

What of her twelve-year-old sister Martha with whom she is closely bonded and who didn’t pass the second half of the eleven plus exam and who remains at the village school. Will their relationship be affected?

Later, Emma’s father introduces Emma to smoking woodbines, alongside her sister. Martha introduces Emma to local dances and lifts on motorbikes, a stark contrast to bedtime at eight-thirty at school. How does Emma explain the nicotine stain on her finger to her questioning peer group?

Does passing the eleven plus exam improve Emma’s quality of life and enable her to come through academically and become a confident sixteen-year-old? Will she sink or will she swim?

About the Author

Edna Mary Hunneysett was born in 1940 near Stratford-upon-Avon, but in her infancy, the family moved to a small, remote farm on the North Yorkshire moors where Edna, the third of seven children, spent her early life. After passing the eleven plus exam, she was a boarder at a convent grammar school. On finishing school, she was employed by the Inland Revenue. She married in 1961 and has eight children, twenty-one grandchildren and three great grandchildren. From 1977 to 1991, she worked part-time at a BBC local radio station. She gained a BA Hons (Div) in 1995 and an MA in 1998. She lives with her husband, a retired teacher, in Middlesbrough.

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  • Model: paperback
  • 1000 Units in Stock

This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 11 July, 2020.