Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 19, 2008

Finders and Keepers (2005), by Catrin Collier, read by Kate Jarman

Not, ordinarily, a book I’d bother with since I’m not a fan of genre fiction, but it made an engaging plot to liven up the drive to school in the morning, and the narrator had a lovely Welsh accent. It’s Book IV in a series called The Rhhonda Valley, and yes, I admit it, it was a romance. Chick Lit, set in a Welsh valley…

A wealthy young man (but with ideologically sound views about egalitarianism, equity and justice) is adopted into the loving family after his parents die. The patriarch is a miner who had led a campaign for better pay and conditions and is a hero in the community. He has therefore attained a respectable middle-class status by becoming an MP , but alas, is dying from TB and other nasty mining-related lung diseases which I can’t spell.

Anyway, our hero leaves the family to go to the valley where the sanatorium is, and there (you guessed it!) he meets two very different women who appeal to his heart in different ways. Diana is a randy and glamorous career woman, and Mary Ellis is a virtuous and illiterate farm girl struggling to keep her family together in the face of villainy from the wicked land agent.

Naturally love does not run smooth: Diana wants to advance her career, and Mary ends up in the Poor House. (I had thought that these disappeared in Dickens’ time, but Google tells me there were still some operating in the 1930s!) Of course it resolves itself nicely since there is no need to bother much about credibility…

Absolute rot, of course, but still fun to listen to when Radio National is obsessing about sport.

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