How green was my Valley then, and the Valley of them that have gone – From How Green Was My Valley-
Richard Llewellyn has crafted a fine modern day classic with his expansive family saga set in the late 1800s in a South Wales coal mining town. Huw Morgan, now an old man, is ready to leave his home forever as a black slag heap threatens the village. But, before he goes, he looks back on his childhood and young adult life. His memories include work in the coal mines and the formation of unions with their strikes and violence; as well as more tender moments of a boy’s first love.
Beginning when Huw is only six years old, How Green Was My Valley is lovingly told and builds to its inevitable ending with a grace and simplicity enhanced by Llewellyn’s fine voice and lyrical Welsh dialect. The characters that inhabit the novel are tender, humorous, strong and real. One of my favorites is Mr. Gruffydd, the village pastor, who befriends Huw and his family.
Llewellyn writes as a musician composes a great symphony – exacting, beautifully wrought, with an ear for poetry and harmony. How Green Was My Valley is a novel about family unity, love, the pain of disappointment and the joy of shared dreams; it is about the strength of neighbors and the beauty of the Welsh countryside. Exquisitely rendered, it is a story the reader immerses herself in and never wants to end.