Handsome Amir, somewhere in his twenties, somewhere in a Yorkshire town, is torn between duty and lust. While his tradition-bound family urges him to choose a wife from a parade of blank and bashful beauties, he remains a slave to boozy blonde goddess Jackie, his fellow-worker at the department store in town. Pushing forty, with bubblegum hair and a filthy laugh, Jackie is an unlikely muse. She is openly entertained by Amir's teetotalism and moral sincerity, but behind her whip-smart wit is a forgiving and optimistic heart. And, he sighs, she has a smile that lingers in the air like smoke. Meanwhile, at home, Amir must dodge his family's plans for him to join the family newsagency business, 'Fags n Fings', and tenderly care for his beloved, but increasingly demented, mother. Sensitive, sassy, exasperated, twelve-year-old Elle lurks in a black hoody and crops her hair to look as unlike her flamboyant mother as possible. She avoids the spiteful girls at her Catholic school, and leads a double life: raucous ballads of the seventies with wine-soaked Jackie; organic raisins and stately homes with perfect Claire, her father's faultless new wife.
In a northern town rife with racial tension and tabloid outrage, Spilt Milk, Black Coffee is an hilarious, beguiling and unlikely love story. A romantic comedy of twenty-first century multi-cultural Britain, this is an irresistible novel from the prizewinning author of My Summer of Love.
Helen Cross was born in 1967 and brought up in East Yorkshire. She is the author of two previous novels: The Secrets She Keeps and My Summer of Love, which won a Betty Trask Prize and was made into an award-winning film. She lives in Birmingham.