Eli’s suicide may not be what it seemed and rumours of murder are rife. The tide of goodwill towards Megan and Morgan turns to one of suspicion and doubt as Mary Williams spreads her wild rumours with impunity and the preacher’s finger of suspicion and vengeance points toward Wildwater and the mill.
The final part of the trilogy begins with Branwen’s point of view. Branwen believes Megan has forgiven her for the part she played in her, Megan’s, short and traumatic marriage to Eli and desperately wants to be her friend. Megan can scarcely forget the humiliation and harm she suffered at their hands. Branwen is lazy, slovenly about the house and dairy, and Megan is losing patience with her neediness and petulance, unaware of the lengths Branwen has gone to for her sake.
Megan’s troubles are not yet over, however, and when Eli is found dead the finger of suspicion points to Morgan. He has been heard to voice threats against Eli, for the attack which cost Morgan an eye and for his appalling treatment of Megan. Mary Williams, ever spiteful, is stirring up trouble and harbouring a deep and hate filled resentment towards brother and sister for the imagined wrongs done to her. Backed up by the ghastly, fire and brimstone preacher, Mary’s hatred and need for vengeance is given free rein.
Gwen went back to her chair and surveyed the room for the first time since she’d arrived, in an attempt to distract herself from the gnawing dread inside her. Mary had come down in the world, that was certain. Gwen supposed Mary was bitter about the way Morgan Jones had got the mill when her husband Dafydd died. Mary had always been a bitter woman, discontent with her lot even when she’d had more than most to be grateful for. Mary didn’t have much to be grateful for now, Gwen thought, looking about the little downstairs room of the one-up, one-down cottage.
When Eli’s workers quit Wildwater leaving Megan in the lurch, she has to travel to the hiring fair to find new men to work the farm. There she meets Cai Traherne, a traveller with psychic powers and a tragic backstory.
Written from the perspective of three characters, Branwen, Megan and Cai, this is a superb end to the trilogy and, as with the two previous books, has a strong sense of place and period. The atmosphere of 19th century Wales is tangible and set against the backdrop of the beautiful Welsh countryside. It’s incredible to realise how much hard, physical work it took for people to create a good life for themselves under sometimes harsh conditions. These were real life endeavours to attain a certain standard and nothing came easily for the rural people who tried to make a living from the land.
Branwen’s need for friendship and affection affects her judgement drastically, with Megan bearing the full force of her ill will when she believes Megan has insulted and humiliated her. Cai’s character is so appealing. He has psychic abilities, his story is compelling and heartbreaking. I was rooting for him all the way. I love the way his story merged with Megan’s. Esmerelda was a great character too, full of independence, strength and energy. Jenny Lloyd writes in such a way that the characters are easy to care for and empathise with.
A wonderful and powerful story of how damaging suspicion and hatred can be, but also of love, friendship and the essential need for forgiveness.
About Jenny Lloyd
Welsh author Jenny Lloyd was born in rural Mid-Wales and continues to live there, finding inspiration in the Welsh landscape and her rural, Welsh ancestors.
Jenny is the author of three historical suspense novels set in early 19th century, rural Wales – Leap the Wild Water, The Calling of the Raven, and Anywhere the Wind Blows, Books 1, 2 and 3 in the Megan Jones trilogy.
The themes Jenny writes about are love, loss, betrayal, oppression, forgiveness and redemption.
My reviews for the previous two books in the trilogy.