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An appealing novel presenting a warm portrayal of the community spirit and hardship of rural life in the Llandysul area, west Wales, 1932-43, through narrative in the words of a child and letters to a friend in the words of the child's mother.

Love from Blodwen - Margaret Wyles

9781854113597
£ 2.19
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Title
Love from Blodwen
Author
Margaret Wyles
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Seren
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20040630

An appealing novel presenting a warm portrayal of the community spirit and hardship of rural life in the Llandysul area, west Wales, 1932-43, through narrative in the words of a child and letters to a friend in the words of the child's mother.

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Margaret Wyles?s book is described as a ?memoir? of her life as a child growing up in rural west Wales. There is no indication of how much, if any, is fiction or how much is recounted from stories told to her by relatives and friends.

The book is set out in a very helpful way: most chapters begin with a newsy letter written by Margaret?s mother, Blodwen, to her close friend Miriam telling her all the things that have happened in the family lately, her worries and her joys. Then follows Margaret?s first person account of her perspective on those events and her child?s eye view of life in a very Welsh rural community. The main part of the book chronicles events from 1932, when Margaret was born, to 1939 and the outbreak of war.

The family moved from South Wales to Cardiganshire (her mother?s original family home) soon after Margaret was born because of her father?s ill health and the Depression in the Valleys. They took over a small shop and small-holding. The precise location is not given but it could refer to many small villages in Cardiganshire in the 1930s and possibly some readers might pick up clues which would enable them to identify it. Blodwen?s letters and Margaret?s narrative are packed with amusing, sad, engrossing stories; many intriguing characters (Mamgu Poli and Col stand out) and local Welsh and English idioms which lend colour and interest. As well as daily life in a rural shop and smallholding, there are day trips to Llangrannog and Tresaith, picnics, haymaking, life in winter, visiting tramps and gypsies and many tales of family members and friends. Written in an easy style, it is a most enjoyable book.

The last part of the book deals with the years 1939 to 1943 ? the early war years and the family?s return to Mountain Ash after Margaret?s dear Mamgu Poli, her father?s mother, died. By then Margaret was 11 and about to move on to secondary school. The book ends as they arrive in Mountain Ash to find things very different to what they anticipated . . .

As someone who spent long summers on a farm in Cardiganshire in the late 1930s and 1940s, Margaret Wyles has reminded me of so many things and her description of life then seems to me to be truly authentic. I would love to know whether her mother actually wrote those letters!
Beryl Thomas @ www.gwales.com

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Country life - Wales - Llandysul Region - Fiction.|Bildungsromans.|Llandysul Region (Wales) - Social life and customs - Fiction.
Country of Publication
Wales
Number of Pages
224

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