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 pigeons.

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 friendship last?

“This is a masterly book...with many strands, and yet it is easy to read and exciting.”
School Librarian.

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 from Liverpool.

“Turnbull combines an easy economy of style with a sharp eye for detail, and...subtly choreographs the girls’ uneasy relationship.”
Joanna Carey, The Guardian.

More details of all three books on the Middle Years Fiction page.

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