In ‘The Tinker Girl’, a family saga about women for women, the protagonist Cate, battles against poverty, gender and class to save a highland estate and its people from ruin. The 1899 setting is Kevinishe, a village on the west coast of Scotland, ruled by the MacNishe lairds, their wealth coming from the distilling of a renowned single malt whisky.
The book follows the journey of a self-reliant, spirited orphan girl growing to womanhood, weathering highs and lows in her search for security and a family of her own. Intelligent, determined and focused, she attracts, upsets, and succeeds. She fights industrial and rural poverty, shares the lot of women with their struggle for employment and confronts the rigid social conventions of the era.
A facsimile of the Victorian translation of this early 13th/14th-century Welsh medical manuscript has been the most widely available edition up to now. This new book takes the facsimile as its template, complete with both its additional later material and the myth.
The author has met all the right people in the field, and in the process points up the lack of concerted work done on this interesting subject. He expands, corrects and clarifies the text, and his enthusiasm for the subject brings in wide-ranging references. I like his defence of the later section of the 19th-century edition. However, as his own social history section suggests, the 13th-century manuscript deserves a comprehensive and scholarly appraisal.
There is much information compiled in the social history, some of which will be familiar to people already interested in this area, It is clear that each era has its own preoccupations with the Myddfai phenomenon; 19th century cultural nationalism and the Celtic revival. One of the themes of our age is ethnobotany, so, at least a small index of plant names would have made the author’s considerable effort more accessible. He pre-empts criticism by citing publishing restrictions and costs,
ln 1815 Hugh Davies complained that two centuries had elapsed since someone attempted to grapple with old Welsh plant names “but we do not find that any disciple ofAesculapius hath chosen to undertake the task”, Nearly two centuries on we are perhaps hardly in a better state, although as this book demonstrates, it needs not one disciple, or scholar, but a conclave of them. Another piece in the jigsaw, but we await the bigger picture in the public domain.
in June 2013 edition of Herbs – the Journal of the Herb Society
This is a novel about teenagers facing serious life challenges and the eventual triumph of justice and good sense.
Lauren, a 15 year-old English schoolgirl, is forced to stay with her grandmother in Wales when there is trouble at home. With her pet dog, called Flea Bag, Lauren is plunged into a strange environment, where she soon makes as many enemies as friends.
For her GCSE History project, Lauren chooses to research the Senghenydd Colliery disaster of 1913, in which over four hundred men and teenaged boys died. Besides reading the recorded views of historians, she enlists the help of locals, who have photographs and news cuttings relating to the tragic event. Lauren becomes so emotionally involved with the topic that it changes her attitude to life and makes her question her own family’s social position.
Lauren’s hectic half term at her new school involves her in lots of problems and laughter, and even sees her falling hopelessly in love with Justin, a brilliant but disturbed sixth form pupil.