Calon Lan – Elin Gregory
As war rages in France, battles are also being fought on the Home Front.
Bethan Harrhy, farmer’s wife, does her best to keep her family happy as prices rise and the weather worsens. Nye, her husband, is angry and worried. Alwyn, her brother, is injured and shaken by his experiences in the trenches. Her baby is teething and there’s another on the way. Surely having her brother’s best friend to stay, another face, another voice, another pair of hands, can only be a good thing? But when Joe arrives, Bethan is forced to confront ideas she had never even guessed at and makes a terrible mistake.
With conflict at home and abroad, can there be a happy ending for any of them?
Written in the POV of Bethan, a farmer’s wife, Calon Lan is scene after scene of domestic, everyday things that would have been dull and tedious had it not been as well written as it is. Set in WWI-era Wales, when men were sent to abroad to die, Bethan’s brother, Alwyn, has come home to the farm, injured and traumatized. Alwyn’s friend, Joe, came to help out with the chores and soon Bethan noticed her brother was almost like his old self again. She inadvertently witness a tender moment between the two friends and so she asked herself, “could a man love another man?”. There’s an air of innocence and child-like bewilderment in Bethan that could have easily been ignorance and malice in a lesser person. The advice and support she received from an unexpected quarter came gently and subtly. The whole story felt so soft, warm and pure even during the dramatic scenes when tempers ran high. That dinner in the end, outside in the golden evening sunshine of summer, that was how the whole thing felt like.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love