A Welsh Not

The Carmarthen Chronicles

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Pub Date 04 May 2021 | Archive Date 14 Aug 2021

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A tale of family and ties that bind.

Every day a girl in Bess’s class gets beaten for using Welsh; for using their own tongue.

Life in 1860’s Carmarthen is precarious; riven by divides of language, politics and religion. Bess Morgan’s choices are limited, for all that she was educated with Magistrate Davies’ daughter. When her baby brother dies, she wonders why women ever marry. Her views are confirmed when her mother is carted away to the newly built asylum, after the birth of yet another baby. Will meeting her brother’s friend, ex coal miner Abel change her mind?

Handsome Richard Morgan hates the flattery and fawning required of a draper's apprentice. He longs to study then teach. Besotted by Magistrate Davies’ flirtatious daughter, he must find a way to marry a girl way above his station in life.

Can Bess and Richard escape the class constraints of Victorian Wales? Coal is king and the Welsh valleys boom, as Carmarthen stagnates.

A stand-alone sequel, set 20 years after Book 1; ‘From Waterloo to Water Street’, the novel explores the realities of life in Wales and London in the 1860’s and 70’s. Meticulously researched, it is based on the real lives of the next generation of S E Morgan's ancestors.

A tale of family and ties that bind.

Every day a girl in Bess’s class gets beaten for using Welsh; for using their own tongue.

Life in 1860’s Carmarthen is precarious; riven by divides of language...

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ISBN 9798503247176
PRICE £1.77 (GBP)

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Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

A Welsh Not by S.E. Morgan is an entertaining book taking place in Wales in 1863, right when England was doing its best to outlaw the speaking of Welsh and generally keep the Welsh people down as unintelligent and beneath them. It is a slice of life novel following one family through the ends of their childhoods and their entry into adulthood. It portrays the hardships of life for a poor Welsh family and how they managed to cope. The Welsh not is a switch used to slap the hands of any child in school caught speaking Welsh. It is used at the discretion of the teacher and not always used well. It was a moving story, historically pretty accurate, and kind of heartbreaking. Things happen in life: people die, jobs/careers don't work out as one might hope, romances fail. But, life goes on. This was a moving story of one such family. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't all bad and it allows us to live for a little while in someone else's shoes, which is always a good thing. It is definitely worth the read, sad though it may be. I was invited to read a free e-ARC of A Welsh Not by Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #awelshnot

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This book was about the Morgan family, mostly Richard and Bess. I was so emotionally involved with both. When the story ended (I felt it ended too quickly), I was very disappointed. I wish the story had gone further with maybe better endings for both Richard and Bess. The writer wrote most of the story but actual events, but not all. I think the bending should have went a little further. It was bad enough what happened to Abel, but Bess did not take Mr. Davies either. Then there was poor Richard, he loved but it was never returned. I like happier endings.

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This is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction. It twists your heart from the very beginning. It lagged a bit in the middle but ended well. I’d read more by this author.

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This is a really interesting story about life in 19th century Wales, a location/era that I don't see very often. The story was well-written and was pleasant to read. I definitely appreciated the fact that these stories were about the author's ancestors, so were very heavily based on "real life". She did change a couple of things to fit the narrative, so it qualifies as historical fiction, but it definitely has a very realistic feel to it. When the book ended, I wanted more - I really would have liked to see what happened next to all of the characters (Note: there are spoilers if you read the author's website as far as "what happened next") I gave this book 3.5 stars because it was an enjoyable read, but I wouldn't classify it as an easy read due to all of the Welsh terms that make it a little hard to read if you're not familiar with the language (I am not - and thus stumbled mentally on how to pronounce those words even in my own head). I also felt like the author could have done a little bit more to bring out the emotion in some of the events in the story - they were very factually told, but some of the things that I thought should have been tear-jerkers just didn't evoke much of an emotional response in the reader. I would recommend this to anybody who is interested in reading about family histories, historical racism or UK/British c0mmonwealth history. Thanks to #NetGalley, SE Morgan, and the publisher for providing this book at no cost to me in exchange for my unbiased review. #AWelshNot

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This book had a great storyline and you also got to learn a few Welsh words at the same time. It centres around a young welsh family and the turmoils that life throws at them. As a family they are close but when their mum is admitted to an asylum after loosing yet another baby things get harder. Life is easy for those with money but they don't so life is very hard. If you want to better yourself it isn;t easy and some of the family are resentful for the way thier life is going and want more. I really enjoyed this book and would love to learn what happens to this family later on. Here's hoping for another book to continue their story.

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I really liked this book. as It brought back lots of memories of learning Welsh history in school. Phrases such as "now in a minute" are ones I still use today. It was thoroughly researched was totally engrossed. However, I thought the ending was far too abrupt. I would recommend this book and will look out for future books by this author. Thank you Netgalley and Books go Social for giving me the opportunity to give my unbiased opinion.

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A realistic story of life in 1860 Wales. Punishing children for speaking the welsh language in school A really good read.

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