I’m delighted to welcome author Valerie Poore on my blog today as a guest reviewer
The Megan Jones Trilogy by Jenny Lloyd
I’ve just finished reading Anywhere the Wind Blows by Jenny Lloyd, and in thinking about the review I wanted to write for it, I realised I would need to refer to the first two books in the series of this magnificent Megan Jones trilogy. As a result, this review is about all three books as they really need to be read in sequence for the reader to follow the complete story.
I’ve been known to describe Jenny Lloyd’s writing on Twitter as worthy of Thomas Hardy and I am not overstating the case. I read the first book, Leap The Wild Water back in 2013 and was riveted. Megan Jones is a young woman living on a small farm in a remote Welsh community. Her mother is harsh and unbending; her brother, Morgan, is fond and decent but unyielding in his support of their mother’s position. The church and its rigid social strictures rule everything and everyone. With this loveless, chilly family environment, Megan falls for the first man who gives her encouragement when the man she thinks loves her appears to desert her. The result is a pregnancy and birth for which her mother and brother cannot forgive her. We also learn of the plight of other young women who have fallen victim to the same Lothario and the tragic fate that meets them. This is not an environment of compassion and understanding for the fragile emotions of young girls, and in fact Jenny Lloyd skilfully details how cruel life could be for women in such unforgiving religious communities.
This then is the background for the second novel, The Calling of the Raven, which sees Megan’s first love returned, and her marriage to him. On discovering she has had a child out of wedlock, Eli, her husband, turns against her and the rest of the book chronicles the hardships she endures as a result. The community also turns against her under the influence of the fire and brimstone railing preacher and the book ends in tragic circumstances.
Book three, Anywhere the Wind Blows continues the story. In this latest and last book of the series, published this year, Megan’s brother and then she herself fall under suspicion of murder, but both of them are completely innocent and ignorant of wrongdoing. We learn quickly who the real culprit is, but it takes until the end of this breathtaking saga for Megan to learn the truth. Meanwhile, Megan and Morgan are fighting to prove their innocence against the mounting rumour mongering and condemnation of the Preacher and his supporters. We also meet a new character and a new hero, Cai Traherne, who becomes integral to the story through equally tragic, but different circumstances. The outcome of the book is something I am not going to explain here, but suffice to say it was a fitting closure to this fantastic series.
Jenny Lloyd’s writing is so evocative of the Wales she loves and of the history of the social conditions of the time. My comparison with Thomas Hardy is wholly justified in my opinion and these books will stand the test of time as literary and historical novels that are beautifully written and carefully researched. I have stayed up half the night reading each of them and I know I’ll never forget the marvellous scenery and backdrops of her beloved Wales that Jenny Lloyd describes. I can highly recommend the whole trilogy all as terrific five star reads from a wonderful writer.
Thank you Val. Wonderful review!