The world was crumbling, but her love stayed strong
November 1915. For young housemaid, Anwen Rhys, life is hard in the Welsh mining village of Dorcalon, deep in the Rhymney Valley. She cares for her ill mother and beloved younger sister Sara, all while shielding them from her father’s drunken, violent temper. Anwen comforts herself with her love for childhood sweetheart, Idris Hughes, away fighting in the Great War.
Yet when Idris returns, he is a changed man; no longer the innocent boy she loved, he is harder, more distant, quickly breaking off their engagement. And when tragedy once again strikes her family, Anwen’s heart is completely broken.
But when an explosion at the pit brings unimaginable heartache to Dorcalon, Anwen and Idris put their feelings aside to unite their mining community.
In the midst of despair, can Anwen find hope again? And will she ever find the happiness she deserves?
A beautiful, emotional and heart-breaking saga set in the Welsh Valleys of the Great War
that fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin and Sheila Newbury will love.
This is a story set in the first world war in a small Welsh mining village. I could easily picture the surrounding valley and life in the village from the authors vivid descriptions.
The affects of the war can be felt throughout the story with loved ones not returning or in the case of Anwen, returning but having changed. I couldn’t be annoyed with Idris though as I loved his character as much as I did Anwen’s. They are both trying to do their best to provide and bring money in to support their families.
Being a saga, Anwen’s family and life in general, make for some emotional reading. A mother who is bed ridden and an abusive father. She has had to take on many roles like many did in those days but it hits home how things have changed and children back then had to grow up fast. I thought the author portrayed those times wonderfully and has definitely done her research.
Heartbreak in the Valleys was an all engrossing story that swept me along with it. It is a wonderful historical saga that brought to life the mining community as well as village life. With a hint of romance, this is a story that focuses more on family life and the relationships within. It had me go through an array of emotions and I would love for there to be more of Anwen and Idris in the future.
My thanks to Hera Books and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Several years ago, Francesca Capaldi pursued a childhood dream and joined a creative writing class. Lots of published short stories, a serial, and three pocket novels later, she’s now explored her mother’s ancestral history for a novel set in a Welsh colliery village. A history graduate and former teacher, she hails from the Sussex coast but now lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrissian.
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