Going to Wales


Not really, I wish though. So awhile back I mentioned Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allan. I decided I needed to talk about it because it holds a special place in my heart and because it’s one of those books that aren’t really known and I think it’s too bad for this book.

Let’s go far back. I didn’t used to like to read. It wasn’t until I was 11, between 5th and 6th grades, I started to like to read. It took breaking my wrist (I fell off a horse. I’ve never remembered actually falling off, I just remember being on the ground) and me not being to do everything I used to for like a month for me to start reading. My sister was a reader as long as I could remember though and I think it was around that time I took this book from her. I have loved this book ever since. I read this book at a point in my life where my love of reading was blossoming into something amazing and doing it quickly. After I read this book, I became a little bit more cynical about what I read so this book came at the perfect time.

Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads. “When 16-year-old Catrin (she’s really 18) went for a short visit to Wales before settling down for work in London, she little suspected she would stay for the summer and longer because of a sick aunt. How she coped with the situation, became the custodian of a historic building, overcame the wariness of the villagers, participated in the Welsh national life, and found friendship and romance in the colorful, picturesque community, make for another fine teenage story”. This is pretty true. She’s 18, she goes to Wales to see her deceased mom’s sister who runs a historic building and then breaks her leg and Catrin is left to watch this historic building. She meets the Williams family and gets to be best friends with the sister. Catrin’s relationship with the brother, Ifor, is a little shaky at first but then ends up in love and they marry. It’s a great story of people aren’t what the originally seem. Originally published in 1960-ish. Recommended for young readers.

I have never been a fan of books where it seemed that the love between 2 people seems rushed or not genuine. Romeo and Juliet anyone? It’s been a while since I’ve read the book. But I don’t question and never have questioned the love in this book. This may be because of when I read it and I just didn’t question love in literature at that point. To me it seems like Ifor and Catrin’s love was legitimate. Their personalities just made sense to me that they would love each other. And I always seemed to understand that they spent a lot of time together, making falling in love right. I would sit around daydreaming about this love the whole summer after I read this book. It’s something that I want. It’s stable, it’s not silly. It’s a love that will last until they die.

This book also made me want to go to Wales. Unless you count Canada, which I’ve only been briefly (and let’s face it I’m from North Dakota, I’m close to Canada so it can’t count for much), I’ve never been outside U.S. soil. Even though I have a standing offer to go to Taiwan. I have a friend that I worked with in Medora that said I can come visit her anytime. I feel like I would stand out in Taiwan. A tall, blonde chick that wears cowboy boots will probably stand out right? Since this book, I’ve been fascinated by the history, culture, literature, pretty much anything with Western Europe. I might be going next year, but that’s a totally different post.

Back to the book. It’s a good book, an easy read. It’s a book that’s underappreciated and not known. I love this book so much, mainly because of the lovely memories that I associate with it, I wish other people knew about it. I think that everyone has one of those books they feel like this with. I’d love to take suggestions on what to read from people’s lists of books where the book isn’t really known but it holds a very special place in their hearts. You can learn a lot about a person from the books they hold dear.

I haven’t found another book by this author so I don’t know if this book was a “one hit wonder” or if I’m just not looking in the right spots.

I’ll probably be pulling books from the archives and reviewing them or pulling stories out of my past for you until I have something ready for Treasure Island. It’ll be fun I promise.


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