"The Black Pencil Woman - Portrait of My Mother" by Ros Holland is an emotionally charged autobiographical memoir. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this but what I got was a brilliant recount of the author's emotional life journey, sharing many emotions from happiness and sadness to grief and shame, presenting the highs and lows of family life. This is a no holes barred memoir in which the author has bared her deeply personal soul to all and sundry inspired after the death of her mother. I haven't personally lost a parent or experienced any of the grief related to in the story but I could still fully comprehend how the author must of felt during these times in her life - due to the frank and openness of the adept writing.
Born and bred in NE England myself, I totally relate to and enjoyed the lovely geographical descriptions of Northumberland/North East and the small towns and villages and I particularly liked reading the back in time account of life here. There's a lot of social history of NE England described too which was also interesting, very well written and portrayed - the attitudes, work and class struggles so different from today.
This book is a very moving, emotional and endearing story full of inspiration where at times I warn you, you will feel sad but I did thoroughly enjoy it, finding myself taking my time reading it so to absorb every word. I would have no hesitation in recommending "The Black Pencil Woman".