Friday, 28 March 2008


AUTHOR: Peter Ho Davies


DATE READ: March 2008

NOTES: The story is set in the final month of WW2. There are three main threads to the story. Rotheram, a German refugee, assists British Intelligence by interviewing POWs, a young patriotic German soldier, Karsten, who surrenders in Northern France and Esther, the teenage daughter of a shepherd. All the threads come together in a small North Wales community.

At its heart is Esther, whose mother has died. She has few females to identify with or to be friends with and finds herself confused by the males that she comes into contact with. Rhys, a school friend, is attracted to her but she has rejected him and as a result he joined the army. She is attracted to Colin, a soldier based locally, but he only has a short term relationship in mind. She is intrigued by Karsten and becomes attracted to him.

The book is well researched and beautifully written and the story flows well. Many themes are explored – patriotism, nationalism, racism, identity – but none are laboured. Another recurring theme is the sense of belonging - “cynefin” – passed down through the maternal line of sheep.

The introduction of Rudolf Hess as a character worked well. He is portrayed as clever, cunning and manipulative.

As well as being very atmospheric The Welsh Girl is a riveting page-turning story.

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