Thursday 15 September 2016

Elin's Air

My husband is from Wales and exploring its history and landscape has always been important to us so I was delighted to review Elin's Air by Emily Stanford. 
Elin's Air is set in North Wales in 1903. At this time, North Wales was turbulent with strikes, gold mining and revival.

Elin is the daughter of a miner and her father is a difficult man from over use of alcohol and over exposure to dust in the mine. Elin's life alters when she has to leave school and go out to work. She learns of the revival and also of a potential of a find of gold. Through the novel, Elin grows and faces difficulty, death and a substantial amount of hard work.

The book has a fascinating portrayal of the 1904 revival in Wales showing both the striking interest of the people but the small role of preaching and the comparatively large role of words from the congregation. Alongside, the story of the revival is Elin's own spiritual growth and conversion.

The book has a  mixture of pictures of early twentieth Welsh life: cockle collecting, mining, farming in addition to the revival and issues of cross class relationships. The story builds up to a satisfying end.

There are a fair number of phrases in the book in Welsh. Do note that there is a glossary, at the back of the book, with translations of these. The end of the book also has a note around historical accuracy which is worth reading after the book.

Recommended for older children and above as there is a slightly disturbing part about a grave and also mild romance. A book has many areas for discussion, particularly, around issues in the revival and in early twentieth century Welsh life. 

Elin's Air is available on Amazon or from Hillman Publishing.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Elin's Air for the purpose of the review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views stated are my own.

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