Christmas Awards 2011

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Rhiannon by Carole Llewellyn
Published by Robert Hale
ISBN 978-0-7090-8963-6

The year is 1908. Fourteen year old Rhiannon Hughes and her twelve year old stepsister, Mair, are waiting for Mair’s mother, Nellie, to return home after an evening out. Unbeknown to Nellie, her husband (Rhiannon’s father), Dai, is not on the night shift at the local colliery, but waiting to confront his errant wife about leaving the children on their own and not for the first time. Dai, however, is unaware that Nellie has plans to leave him and the girls to begin a new life with her lover, Harry Stone. After a nasty argument between the couple, Nellie leaves the family home to meet with Harry and to travel to Cardiff, but Harry is not the wonderful catch Nellie has been led to believe and it soon becomes clear to her how he intends to use her charms to make his fortune.

Mair is obviously distressed at the departure of her mother, but Rhiannon and Dai assure her that her home is with them and life soon settles down. Disaster is not too far away, however and in March 1909, Rhiannon and Mair find themselves forced to leave their home. They are taken in by kindly neighbour, Ethel Lewis and her family. Then life changes forever for Rhiannon when she receives tickets to a Cardiff music hall show in which her mother’s sister, Florrie, stars. Florrie takes Rhiannon and, reluctantly, Mai under her wing and they become part of the exciting, theatrical world. Rhiannon is a popular and talented addition to the music hall community, but Mair feels overshadowed by her step-sister and senses a deep insecurity in her life. The re-appearance of her mother, however, means more changes for Mair and Rhiannon and not changes for the better.

Read on to find out how Rhiannon and Mair’s lives go their separate and completely different ways. Will Rhiannon find her vocation in the theatre or will she return to the valleys and the only life she has ever known? Will Mair find happiness with her mother, or will she be let down once again by Nellie and Harry Stone?

This is a very enjoyable read and once started, it is difficult to put the book down in the desire to find out what life has in store for Rhiannon and Mair. The characters are believable and the author makes the reader care about what happens to them.

A book well worth reading and which I award five deserved red roses.

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