THE WELSH GIRL by Peter Ho Davies (2007) read in May 2010

 

This book is set in a quiet country town in Snowdonia in 1944. The local community is revealed as being insular,wrapped up in tradition and prejudiced against outsiders.
They do not know the war is about to end.

The story explores the relationships between three main characters who all have a problem in accepting what they are or what they have done. Firstly there is Rotherham. Part German and part Jewish he was brought to England by his mother as a refugee. He works loyally for the British Intelligence as an interrogator but finds it difficult to cope with his identity.

Secondly there is Karsden, a German soldier, who having surrendered to save the lives of his fellows is interned in the P.O.W. camp close by. He is haunted that his surrender may be seen as cowardice and not being loyal to his own country. Thirdly there is Esther , the Welsh Girl. She is a young women caring for her widowed father, keeping the sheep farm going and working in the local pub. She is a romantic and longs for a different life similar to that she sees in films.However finding herself pregnant she uses deceipt to ease the situation and finds herself living with a secret.


This book is partly based on fact and is well researched. It is complicated and has depth. However there was a mixed response from the group - some saw it as an enjoyable read, some thought it dipped so much in the middle that they tired of it whilst others thought it a convincing novel showing the tough realities of life in harsh circumstances. So we can only suggest you read this for yourself!!
This is the first novel written by Peter Ho Davies though he has a fine reputation as a short story writer. The group felt they would read future work by him.