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Annie Perry is born beside the coal-muddied canals of the Black Country, at the height of the industrial revolution. The youngest in a large Romani family who cannot afford to keep her, when she is eight years old Annie is sold as a servant to the famous and feared bare-knuckle boxer Bill Perry, The Tipton Slasher.
Bill is starting to lose his strength, but refuses to give up his crown. When it looks like a fight might become Bill's last, Annie steps into the ring, fists raised in his defence. From that moment she is determined to train and follow in Bill's footsteps, to learn to fight for herself. But Annie has been doing this all along.
A whole new world opens up for Annie, one of love, fortune, family and education, but also of danger. One wrong move, one misstep, and the course of her life will be changed forever.
Praise for Sal:
'Kitson writes clearly and concisely . . . Sal is an ambitious and skilled novel. Literature needs more stories like this'
JENNI FAGAN, Guardian
'Daring and original . . . Manages to feel both contemporary and timeless, both heart-rending and uplifting'
'Just wonderful. A breath of fresh air in a book. Sal is a story with incredible heart, told so beautifully and with such clarity and grace I can hardly believe it's a debut! I loved it'
JOANNA CANNON, author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP
'Sal is an inspiring novel that feels honest and fastidious. It introduces the theme of redemption and fresh beginnings without shying from the awful truth'
'Kitson inhabits the girls' voices with credible authenticity . . . This short, impressive debut is an uplifting tale of survival, shot through with humour, compassion and humanity'
Mail on Sunday
'Atmospheric . . . Distinctive . . . A vivid, moving tale about the strength of sisterhood and the struggle to survive'
ANITA SETHI, Observer
'Incredibly engaging . . . Mick Kitson's depiction of the siblings' relationship is spot on, as is his description of the beauties of the natural world as seen through Sal's eyes . . . [A] gutsy debut'
'Powered by Sal’s innate sense of justice and her fierce love for her sweary, show-stealing sister, this original, bittersweet tale effortlessly beguiles'
'Gripping and hopeful'
ELLE, Book Club Pick
'Sal is a triumph . . . Shot through with deft humour and a humane, sometimes harrowing, honesty, Kitson’s characters will stay with me for a very long time'
JESS KIDD, author of HIMSELF