The author has captured these characters beautifully, and painted a convincing, well-observed picture of life in a small rural village, with everyone knowing everyone else's goings-on, and no one wanting to be the brunt of village gossip. At the same time, she illustrates the love of the place and the country felt by Wilfred's father as he digs the graves; 'he was cutting the good Welsh earth, the fields of which had fed his family for generations and which he would in turn nourish with his own body.' This is a place that instills both love and yet imposes a sense of limitation in the inhabitants, 'a town that pretended innocence and only allowed for innocence.'
Wilfred has a contented life, living with his father, his mother having passed away many years ago. Wilfred therefore has little idea about women and relationships. 'Wilfred didn't know what marriage involved. Because his father was widowed, Wilfred had had no insight into the day-to-day goings-on of marriage, hadn't grown up enveloped in one. He imagined the worst ones were like Punch and Judy's marriage.' When considering a partner for himself, he wonders, 'What did a man look for in a wife,...Was it cooking? Cleaning? Cleaning would be handy: neither he nor his da were very particular around the house and it could get a bit much sometimes.'
Published by Corsair, an imprint of Constable and Robinson
Thanks to the publisher for kindly sending a copy of this novel to read and review.