New Voices In The Valley is a contemporary novel set in the small village of Allt-yr- coch, Wales in 2002. This is a big read coming in at around 447 pages. It follows the lives of a large cast of characters as they go about their day to day lives. Villagers range from a young Polish girl running away from her abusive husband, a new widow who turns her hand to x-rated phone calls, bringing in the cash, a bored husband who changes his ways to help the community and start up his band and a kebab shop owner whose strong religious beliefs bring danger and terror.
The style of writing tends towards telling us about the events and incidents, making it a dedication and a nod to the local people this book could well have been based on in a loose way. There were opportunities to show the reader, through well written descriptive layering of people and settings, which could have given the book a flamboyance to lift the characters from the pages. I know the author will have wonderful pictures of everyone and where they lived and worked but those pictures didn’t quite reach my own eyes during this reading.
One of my favourite characters was Linda, a widow who turned her life and finances around by answering a job ad to sell sex by phone. She even persuaded her bored friend to sign up and earn quick cash too.
This book might appeal to readers who enjoy a large cast of characters and snooping into their soap opera style, everyday lives.
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Polish-born Danuta escapes her violent husband and leaves Cardiff for good. But she only gets as far as Allt-yr-Coch, where she is offered a job in the village pub. It’s the prime venue for local rock bands. She soon forms the opinion that the people of the Welsh Valleys are mostly eccentric, mad about music, and have a language of their own. But Danuta is undaunted. Just as she starts to feel at home strange things begin to happen, and when Allt-yr-Coch hits the headlines everything changes.
About the author
As a child I always had my nose in a book, and it was a foregone conclusion that I’d eventually start to write.
Nowadays I live in Wales, and have published ‘Beyond the Island’, ‘Return to the Island’, ‘New Voices in the Valley’, ‘Scream at the Mountains’, and ‘Bus Pass Holiday – A Short Circuit’.
Currently I’m working on a ‘Bus Pass Holiday’ sequel and another novel entitled ‘Headshot’ .
I’ve also contributed short stories to a couple of anthologies and occasionally dabble in poetry.