Today is my stop on the blog tour for Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner.
Publication Date: July 24th, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Against overwhelming odds, can she save her legacy?
Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road Gwenna Price is troubled. For all her youth, she is now the master confectioner in the family business since her father died. She promised to fulfil her Pa’s dreams and open a shop, but with her domineering and incompetent stepbrother Elias in charge, the operation is on the brink of collapse.
In an era when women were expected to stay at home, Gwenna is a plucky young woman with uncommon ambition. She is determined to save her legacy. Despite the obstacles put in her way, and throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is irrepressible. She refuses to relinquish her dreams and lets nothing stand in her way. Blind to anything that distracts her, Gwenna risks losing the one person that matters most.
Inspired by a true story, Gwenna is a fascinating insight into life in Auckland at the turn of the 20th century.
“An absorbing read. This fast-paced novel once again demonstrates the author’s trademark flair for telling great historical stories.”
“Adin is a master of her craft. Gwenna, the confectioner; charming, irrepressible and utterly unforgettable. A must read for those who love historical fiction.”
Awarded a BGS Gold Quality Mark – “This is a wonderfully well written, constructed, and edited book. The story moves along at a good pace and the reader is pulled into the world and time in the first chapter.”
Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner is a captivating novel filled with fantastic characters, a moving plot, and beautiful writing.
I love how real this feels. The time period and every day life of Gwenna felt extremely real. I love Vicky Adin’s writing style. She crafted a beautiful story about life, adventure and expectations of society that transported me there.
I highly recommend checking this one out. You won’t be disappointed.
Emerging from the back of the house, Gwenna saw Louisa sitting on her own away from everyone else. She looked as fragile as a glass ornament glittering in the sun, perched on the edge of a precipice. Her hat was placed at such an angle that with the merest tilt of her head she could hide behind its brim…
“Louisa, you look lovely today. Who made your outfit?” asked Gwenna hoping to get her stepsister talking.
“My usual dressmaker, although it’s not new. I couldn’t …” Louisa stopped, unable or unwilling to finish her sentence.
“New isn’t necessary. It’s the fact we are all here that matters. It’s been a long time.”
Louisa didn’t respond, nor did she face Gwenna. The garden took her eye instead.
“Louisa, dear, I don’t wish to rake over old coals, there is no reward in discussing what can’t be changed,” said Gwenna softly, “but I would so like us to speak freely to each other again. Please, Louisa, you appear unhappy. Will you tell me what’s wrong?”
Louisa turned her head sharply towards Gwenna, her eyes glistening and her face flaming. “What’s Janetta been telling you?”
Taking a step back from her stepsister’s sudden hostility, Gwenna replied, “Nothing. I don’t know anything other than Janie said she was concerned. I have no idea why she should be, except for her comment you were a little short-tempered lately. Which I’ve just seen for myself.”
Louisa’s head tilted and her face disappeared behind the brim of her hat. Her shoulders began to shake.
“Shall I fetch Mam?” asked Gwenna. “Would you talk with her?”
Without lifting her head, Louisa gripped Gwenna’s arm. Gwenna waited.
After a few moments, Louisa’s hand disappeared into her reticule and she pulled out a fine lace handkerchief and dabbed her eyes. She lifted her head, her eyes sad and red-rimmed. “I’m sorry, Gwenna.”
“Whatever for? There’s no need to apologise. You’re upset. Let me help you.”
Louisa shook her head and took a deep breath. “You don’t understand. I’ve not been a very nice person at all. I’ve spoken badly of you too many times.”
Gwenna stopped Louisa from saying anything further. “All that is in the past, and I don’t want to hear any more about it. We’re in a new year, a new century, and we have two people who are about to embark on a new life. We should take heed. New possibilities and opportunities await.” Gwenna smiled warmly, with a sparkle in her eye.
“Why are you being so kind to me?”
“I’m not being kind, Louisa. I’m being realistic. Truly I am. It’s better for us all if we get along.” Gwenna turned her head to find Alice and Elias and saw how happy they were together. Alice brought out the best in him and, to Gwenna’s mind, their future was secure. Now all she had to do was sort out her own. “Look at those two, Louisa. Are they not a picture? Alice has taught me much since I’ve known her. She’s practical, her eyes are wide open and she’s loyal. And I’ve learnt the importance of family from someone who doesn’t have one.”
Taking Louisa by the arm, Gwenna led her to one of the tables. On her way to fetch a glass of sherry for them, Gwenna caught Tillie’s eye; she saw what Gwenna was doing and eased the others further away.
Gwenna explained to Louisa how Janetta had beseeched her to forgive Elias, how Alice had persuaded Elias to bring them all together today, and how she and Elias had reached an agreement. “Alice wanted the family together for reasons of her own, and she made it happen. It mattered to her enough to throw caution to the wind and fight for it. Can’t we do the same?”
Louisa remained silent.
Gwenna carried on talking about the difference Charlie made to their lives now he was healthy and happy, and how Bethan had blossomed since she had grandchildren to care for and a purpose in life. “I can’t tell you what a difference she’s made. I couldn’t have done what I have without Tillie, and Tillie couldn’t have done it without Mam, and behind us both is Tom.” And Hugh, but Gwenna didn’t add his name to the mix. “We’re a team – like Eli, Alice and Mr Woodman are a team. What makes it work is we are happy, as individuals and with each other. We like what we do and who we are.”
Gwenna detected a shift in Louisa. Not enough for her to say anything, but some of the tension went out of her. She was listening but, more importantly, Gwenna could see she was hearing the message. “Oh, Louisa, I don’t want to dwell on the past. There were too many reasons to be unhappy back then. I want to look forward. To build the business up to be strong enough so Charlie can be part of it, and so young Georgie will be the second George Price to run the business. Do you remember my pa’s dreams, Louisa? Do you?”
A faint nod was all Gwenna needed.
Multi-award winning historical fiction author, Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words.
After decades of research Vicky has combined her skills to weave family stories and history together in a way that brings the past to life.
Fascinated by the 19th Century women who undertook hazardous journeys to find a better life, Vicky draws her characters from real life stories: characters such as Brigid, the Irish lacemaker and Gwenna, the Welsh confectioner, or Megan who discovers much about herself when she traces her family tree in The Cornish Knot.
Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and enjoys travelling. Her writing has been compared to that Catherine Cookson.
For your chance to win a print copy of Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner, click on the link above or click here! (Open Internationally)
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