Thursday, May 12, 2011

book review: A Country Dance by Margiad Evans

"'I'm going home,' I say. 'You cannot undo what you have done, even with your Welsh tongue.''I will, though,' shouts the master.'Gabriel Ford will never take your word,' I answer back."

There is a certain lyrical quality to the few Welsh books I've read and it's here as the pastoral landscapes of the Welsh border clash with the battle between two men for the heart of a shepherd's daughter.

Penned by the Welsh-border writer Margaid Evans the story of Ann Goodman unfolds. She is torn by the mixed English and Welsh in her blood and finds herself the object of affection for a Welsh land owner and an English shepherd.

She moves between them as she crosses the border and although she is in effect engaged to the English shepherd Gabriel it is when working on the Welsh farm she becomes a woman the master sets his sights on.

Gabriel turns up to check up on his love and finds the master sweet talking her in Welsh. fights ensue and it is not until the very end Ann makes up her mind.

Apart from the three characters involved in the love triangle what stands out here is the description of a rural world that is bitterly hard. Village life is full of hardship, gossip and little joy.

Ann works hard and moves from one grueling task to another while facing the responsibility of looking after her ailing father and navigating her way through the troublesome waters of courtship from two potential husbands.

it provides an insight into the hills and valleys that leaves a lasting impression on the reader and the description of Wales is no doubt why it was chosen to be part of the Library of Wales series of books. It deserves to be read by a wide audience.

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