Hope in the Valleys - Francesca Capaldi
Genre: WW1 Saga | Romance | Historical Fiction
Synopsis: Will Elizabeth choose love over duty?
It’s August 1917 and WW1 continues to take a toll. The villagers of Dorcalon, a mining village in the Rhymney Valley, try to keep hope alive; but every day brings fresh tragedy as more of their sons and fathers are killed on foreign battlefields.
Elizabeth Meredith, daughter of mine manager Herbert, enjoys a privileged position in the village, but she longs to break free of society’s expectations.
Falling in love with miner, Gwilym Owen, brings more joy to her life than she’s ever known… until she’s forced to choose between her love and her disapproving family. Seeking an escape, Elizabeth signs up as a VAD nurse and is swiftly sent to help the troops in France, even as her heart breaks at leaving Gwilym behind.
Separated by society and the Great War, can Elizabeth and Gwilym find their way back together again? Or will their love become another casualty of war?
My Thoughts: This was my first historical fiction read of 2022 and I've been very much looking forward to getting back into my historical fictions this year.
Hope in the Valleys is the third book in the Wartime in the Valleys series and unfortunately I haven't read the previous two books. However, I still managed to get a good gist on what was going on through the book - so it can definitely be read as a standalone like I did. That being, said there were moments throughout the book where I felt like I was out of the loop as references were made that I didn't fully understand - something must have happened in either of the first two books that I missed out on.
On the whole, this book is a lovely and rather heartwarming. It covers relationships between family, friends and love interests which were obviously happening during a very difficult period of time. There's also loss and grief that is covered, but it's intertwined perfectly in amongst the happier moments. The elements of speech throughout the book were written in a way which I could automatically recognise as being a Welsh person speaking, which I really loved - my mind was reading it to me in a Welsh accent.
The only thing I really struggled with whilst reading this book is that there are so many different names mentioned throughout. Some of these names are the names of other characters who are then spoken about in further detail later in the book, and others that were just names mentioned in a passing comment. I'm unsure whether these people who were spoken about briefly were characters who had been brought up in the previous two books and it was someone I should have been familiar with had I read both other books. The number of names that were mentioned left me feeling like I was constantly trying to remember whether they were a significant character.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. The writing by Francesca Capaldi was sublime however I did feel the book was slow in parts. Anyone who knows me will know how much of a sucker I am for historical fiction books, and I've really grown on the wartime sagas too, having read a number of them over the last few years. This book was no exception, however I feel like I should have read the previous two books as that might have made me enjoy the storyline even more.
Here is a breakdown of my thoughts out of 10 for each of the CAWPILE factors:
Characters - 7/10
Atmosphere - 7/10
Writing - 8/10
Plot - 7/10
Intrigue - 6/10
Logic - 7/10
Enjoyment - 6/10
Which brings this book to an overall rating of ☆☆☆/5
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