Tuesday, February 20, 2018

On Open Ground, The Moss Gatherers and The Curlew's Cry (Ty Coch Trilogy) by Tia Jones

Paperback: 255 pages                                                                                                

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Gomer Press 2008 (2nd impression 2016)
Source: A Likely Story Bookshop, Tywyn.
First Sentence: Ann Baxter needed to have the upper hand. 
Review Quote: 'Moving, beautifully written and full of edge' Lord Carlile of Berriew
Main Characters: Elin, Ianto and Mervyn
Setting: Wales

Précis Courtesy of Amazon:

When Elin returns to Wales to heal the wounds of war, she is drawn by childhood memories of her aunt's farm and the mountains by the sea. It is here she meets and marries Ianto, the quick-tempered farmer and horse breeder. But it is here also that her dreams start to unravel as she discovers unspoken truths about relationships and rivalries that have blighted several generations. Gradually, the isolation and ancient superstitions of this rural community seem to close in on her. And when Elin meets the local farrier, it is not long before the fortunes of farm and forge become tragically embroiled....

Paperback: 376 pages                                                                                                 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Gomer Press 2013
Source: A Likely Story Bookshop, Tywyn.
First Sentence: In the cold morning he dressed quickly, gulping down his breakfast and filling his thermos flask before putting it into his canvas bag.
Main Characters: The children of Elin and Ianto, Richard, Bethan and Simon.
Setting:  Wales

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

A sequel to the novel On Open Ground. Though they are children no longer, Richard, Bethan and Simon continue to be drawn to TyAe Coch, their childhood home in Llanfeni. Whilst Richard broods on his failing farm, Bethan's marriage is subsiding into cruel intrigue. But when she is visited by Simon, a desperate series of events is set in motion that can only lead back to one place - Llanfeni, and to a dramatic conclusion in the marginal land between sea and mountain.

Paperback: 314 pages                                                                                                

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Gomer Press 2016
Source: A Likely Story Bookshop, Tywyn.
First Sentence: Bethan looked repeatedly back over the stretch of white sand to the dark shape on the edge of the tide mark, aware that the distance between them was considerable.
Main Characters: Elin, Mervyn, Bethan, Richard, Tegwyn.
Setting: Wales

Précis Courtesy of Amazon:

The third novel in a trilogy centred around the agricultural and personal troubles of a farming family living on the Welsh coast. A sequel to On Open Ground and The Moss Gatherers. The Curlew's Cry is the third novel in a trilogy centred around Ty Coch, a farm on the mid-Wales coast, where three generations of domestic drama is played out in the light of economic, environmental and political developments on a global scale. As the drama unfolds, we are left to contemplate not only the nature of suffering, hope and renewal, but also what in the 21st century constitutes man's proper relationship with the natural world. Plucked from the sea, Bethan and her daughter Clare are clinging on to life in Llanfeni, where Tegwyn continues as devoted as ever. At Ty Coch farm, Bethan's family home, survival has also become a way of life, as Richard and Penny fight the foot-and-mouth outbreak, which has left many neighbours wondering whether wind farming, not livestock, is the way ahead. Casting a further shadow over the community is the war in Iraq, where Martin Price is trapped in no man's land. All the while, across the Irish Sea, Bethan's estranged and vengeful husband is waiting to strike.

My Opinion of the Trilogy:
By the time I finished reading these books I was left feeling that I was going to miss following this Welsh farming community as they coped with the pressures of everyday life. This family saga depicts rural life not as the romantic idyll, that so many think it is, but instead with realistic candour. One is left not just feeling you know all the characters that she portrays so plausibly, but that you have also learnt how current affairs can make an impact on the hill farmers of Wales.  Tia Jones writes from the heart as she lives on a Welsh hill farm herself and she has produced an emotional narrative with this fascinating trilogy. 
Although they can all be read as stand alone novels, I recommend reading them all, as one feels the author's confidence growing during the telling of this tale. Quite a task to write such a trilogy. 

Author Profile

Tia Jones lives and works with her husband on their organic hill farm in Montgomeryshire. She has written for television and radio, and regularly contributes to newspapers and popular magazines.

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Amazon Author Page     Tia Jones - Goodreads

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