Nineteenth century Wales is brought to vivid life in this family saga which takes the reader from the coal mines of Lancashire, to the slate quarries of North Wales. Following a devastating tragedy Joe Standish, his wife, Emily and their small son, Tommy, leave behind friends and family in Lancashire to start a new, and hopefully, better life in Wales.
Following the fortunes of this family makes for an enjoyable read, one which is made all the more interesting by the author’s fine eye for detail and interesting use of dialect, particularly in the Lancashire sections. All too often vernacular can be overdone, but as a Lancastrian, I found the colloquialisms realistic and appropriate. It was interesting to see the progression this family made during their time in Wales and the direct contrast between the working classes and the upper class quarry owners is done well and demonstrates the difference in social status.
There is no doubt that the author has a keen eye for social observation and combines this with an obvious love of history and a well thought out storyline. The Widow Makers is a good start to a trilogy which I am sure will only go from strength to strength as the story progresses.
More about the author can be found here