THE MAKING OF ANNIE-MAY by Alana Beth Davies reviewed

The Blurb:

This is a love story, a family saga, and a social and political commentary on life in 20th century Wales, as seen through the eyes of one woman and her family, as we follow her journey from a pliable and naïve young girl to a confident and self-assured woman.

The Review:

It all starts when Anja May Gethin lands herself a job as a temporary, fill-in teacher in a local college. It’s a big step and she feels unprepared and not a little terrified, but with her husband out of work and three daughters to support, it’s a leap she has to take.

This is the south Wales Valleys of the early 1980s. Margaret Thatcher is in No.10 and a miners’ strike is looming. In other words, life is pretty tough. However, our Anja (or Annie-May to her nearest and dearest) is strong, resilient and resourceful, and she has unwittingly just taken the first step on a journey that will eventually lead her all the way to Parliament. But to get there, she has to negotiate the rapids of forbidden love, institutional sexism and family secrets long buried deep.

Spanning several generations, The Making of Annie-May is a book about families, politics, ambition, secrets and lies, all driven by anger, desperation, the desire for a better world, and – of course – love. It is fantastically written with a vivid sense of character, time and place. Alana Beth Davies doesn’t just weave a handful of characters in these pages, she spins and entire village with its own social and economic eco system. And at the centre of this ever-spinning vortex of unemployment, babies, schooling, bills, divorce, marriage and frustration is Anja, who, with the endless support of her equally resilient mum Sarah, slowly comes to realise the importance of politics and how it affects every single aspect of her life.

This is as much a manifesto as it a novel, driven by fire and belief, and is utterly compelling from start to end. I couldn’t put it down.

The Author:

Alana grew up in Porthcawl on the south Wales coast. She achieved success in her careers of both education and politics, with some entrepreneurship along the way. It was later that she found the time and the opportunity to pursue her real passion – that of writing.

Having moved to her mother’s hometown of Swansea, she now writes short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

This is Alana’s first full-length novel; she has a sequel underway, as well as a further novel set in Ireland and Wales.

The Making of Annie-May by Alana Beth Davies is available from Amazon.

Published by Richard E. Rock

Cat-loving, headbanging author of the dark and fantastical.

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