Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allan

When 16 year old Catrin goes for a short visit to Wales before settling down to work in London, she little suspects she will stay for the summer and longer because of a sick aunt. During which she becomes the custodian of a historic building, overcomes the wariness of the villagers, participating in the Welsh national life, and finds friendship and romance in the colorful, picturesque community.

Book recommendations from friends are the greatest and yet there is always a trepidation, a slight trembling of the fingers as I reach for the book. What if I don’t like it, and then it might hurt their feelings? So it was with this book and I. My good blogging chum Natalie wrote a glowing review for it, I ordered it from the library, and then read the first page and went…. oh dear! The story wasn’t horrid and I even liked the style and the descriptions were suburb; however, I wasn’t clicking with the heroine Catrin. I was feeling terrible about the whole thing. And then it happened. Half way through or so I couldn’t put it down! I was in Wales with Catrin, cycling around the cool green valleys with Gwen and visiting her friends at their farm in the steep windy hills. And I didn’t want to come back. Indeed, I read the last chapter several times just to drag out the finishing part, then sat and sighed in contentment over it. It’s not a second Little Women or To Have and To Hold, but it is unabashedly simple, refreshing and most Nancy Drew-ish (after all it was written in the 60’s). I think it is the neatest thing how they ride their bikes seemingly everywhere they go and I now have a burning desire to take a bicycle tour around Wales. Altogether it is a lovely example of a perfect summer read – light, unpretentious and quite pleasing!


  1. Eeee!!! You reviewed it! I'm so happy! :D
    Haha, oh my, I understand completely about reading a book (or watching a movie) recommended by a friend and worrying about hurting their feelings if you don't like it. I certainly wouldn't have been hurt if you didn't like Catrin in Wales-although I am glad you did end up enjoying it!! :)

    Yes, I agree, I think it took me a little bit for the story to really grab hold of me. But then, once it did....;) Ahh, I think I did that with the last few chapters, too! And I love how you described it: "unabashedly simple, refreshing and most Nancy Drew-ish". :)

    1. Natalie,
      This story made me so happy, too. :)

      It is very interesting that it took some time for you to get into the story as well. I actually find, though, that sometimes the stories that do take a little warming up to do indeed become my most passionate favorites. Not all the time of course, but it is a theory of mine! What do you think?

    2. Eowyn,
      Hmm...I think I agree. I can definitely think of a couple books that took awhile to warm up to...but then, I can also think of ones I feel head over heels in love with from the first page. :D There are also ones that I didn't realize I loved until the very end. Funny how that is!

    3. Natalie,
      Definitely a case-by-case basis with no two book readings being exactly alike. :)


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