I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; Hope in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi. I an rhrilled to be sharing my review of this very emotional book with you all. Firstly, thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to this tour.
about the book
Hope in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi.
Series: Wartime in the Valleys #3
Genre: WW1, Historical Fiction, Saga
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?
Full confession here; despite having a Francesca Capaldi book sitting on idly my kindle this is the first of her books I have sat down and read. I’m not sure why I have waited so long to read her books, that’s typically me though, isn’t it?
I didn’t realize when I agreed to review this book that it was a part of a series, the third book to be precise. I did decide that I wouldn’t start a series in the middle anymore, but it doesn’t count if you don’t know it’s a series, right? But do think that I should have read the previous two books as I felt as though I had missed out on something, especially in regards to the characters.
I enjoyed the cast of characters and getting to know them all, some I loved and some I was hissing as like a spitting cobra whenever they were mentioned, and then there were times that other characters were mentioned or spoke of and I felt a little disjointed as I wasn’t entirely sure where they fitted in, perhaps that’s with not reading the previous two books?
This tells the Romeo and Juliet type story of the colliery’s manager’s daughter; Elizabeth and how her friends and blossoming romance with a miner; Gwilym is frowned upon and seen in the society she lives in. Elizabeth’s family don’t like or condone friendship outside of their ranks especially with their workers, it slams home the prejudice of the class system, and also brings to light just how much hasn’t changed within certain circles (I am for one very proud of my common as coal, working-class heritage). It’s these kinds of scenario’s in stories that rankle me, but was pleasantly surprised by just how much I liked Elizabeth, she isn’t like her family or their circle, she believes in treating everyone as equals no matter where they hail from or how calloused and coal blackened their hands are.
Elizabeth is a wonderful character she is a good, kind and compassionate woman who is trying to do her bit for the war effort and the families in their mining community – another reason I liked her, is she isn’t at all like her family and peers she is a really lovely woman who just happens to have feelings for a worker.
There are moments s especially with Elizabeth’s awful too-far-up her rear end mother that speared my heart, her comments and her snobbish attitude hit their mark with me, being from mining stock those moments and callous comments cut deep. I wanted to share a few choices words with her, and bring that woman down a peg or two.
Anyone who follows my reviews should know by now that I do have a love for this era, which is one of the reason’s I chose to read and review this book, I loved the back blurb being from a family of generation after generation of miners this appealed to me. This doesn’t focus hugely on the war but more on the effects of what the war brings to a community, something I enjoyed too.
I will certainly read more from Francesca Capaldi I loved her deeply emotional and richly descriptive writing, but I do think that I will read the previous two books first before reading further in this series.
This book is your typical family saga, full of emotion, angst, friendship, love, happiness and heartbreak. I thought it was a little slow in pacing at times, but the scenes with Elizabeth and Gwilym are lovely, I liked how Elizabeth stood up for what she believed in, she has so much love to give, she is a calming influence in a hectic uncertain world and it was a joy to follow her as she went on her journey.
about the author
Francesca has enjoyed writing since she was a child, largely influenced by a Welsh mother who was good at improvised story telling. A history graduate and qualified teacher, she decided to turn her writing hobby into a career in 2006.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Each month she writes a competition post for the Romantic Novelists’ Association blog.