October marks the start of National Book month, what better way to celebrate by sharing with you some of our favourite authors and novels all based in Pembrokeshire! Pembrokeshire is filled with an inspiring spirit of story-telling tales of its own ancient legends, but also many fantastic novels are based in the forests and quirky towns of Pembrokeshire. So get your bookmarks ready, were sure this fantastic line up will be a real page turner! Here are our top 10 favourite Pembrokeshire related novels
The Angel Mountain Saga – Brian John
This 8 novel saga involves the works of not only historical fiction, but also love stories and crimes scenes while many mysteries unfold. These fantastic novels are grounded around Newport, an area of outstanding beauty in Pembrokeshire including mountain Carn Ingli and Ty Canol woods. The strong sense of place and the historical authenticity throughout Johns work have received worldwide praise and accumulated a huge cult following. Last week we were lucky enough to meet up with the brilliant author Brian John. Keep an eye out for next week’s book club blog dedicated to Pembrokeshire’s historical novels, including the Angel Mountain Saga with further details on evening talks with Brian John and guided tours around the famous story locations!
Changing Patterns – Judith Barrows
Set in 1950 post war, Nurse Mary is living in mid wales with Peter, a German ex POW – and knows her job will be in danger if anyone finds out about him. When tragedy attacks and her dear brother dies, Mary hopes it will unite her family, but as the story unfolds evil enters all their lives and the whole family realise that they must pull together to save one of their own. Barrows fell in love with the tranquillity of Pembrokeshire while holidaying with her family here, thus this inspired her to set her novels in such beautiful landscapes.
The Tudor Court Novels – Philippa Gregory
Bringing history to life, Phillippa Gregory’s Tudor novels are based on facts with some novel writing to fill in the gaps. Gregory’s work is best known for her portrayals of the women around the Tudor court of Henry VIII, such as ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’. With many references to Pembrokeshire throughout the novels, it is truly fascinating to think what Pembrokeshire looked like during this time. To get a real sense of place readers are able to walk the ‘Tudor Trail’ by visiting all the famous story locations to enhance reader experience.
Oystercatchers – Susan Fletcher
Devastated by her sister’s accident, Moira, spends her evenings confessing secrets of her own life, her shameful actions and her link to the accident that has possibly put her younger sixteen year old sister in this coma. Set partly in Stackpole, Pembrokeshire, Fletchers second novel narrates the troubled relationship between the two sisters, how tumultuous forces of loneliness and envy tears them apart, but could the love emerge as the greatest force of all?
Martha, Jack and Shanco – Caryl Lewis
Translated from the welsh language, one of the best portrayals of indigenous folk can be found in Caryl Lewis’s story of two brothers and a sister bound to the farm they’ve inherited by love, fear and secrets. The writing comes alive in its small details and descriptions while capturing a more authentic picture of wales. The novel is often described as disturbing as it tells the tale of how a farming family in rural west wales are dislocated from society and modernity.
The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals – Wendy Jones
Under the heady influence of a springtime picnic and faint notions of obligation, young undertaker Wilfred Price spontaneously proposes to a woman he barely knows. To his surprise she says yes. As Wilfred attempts to extricate himself from the situation, his overbearing father presents further complications. When Wilfred meets another woman he does wish to marry, a comedy of manners ensues. Set in the small village of Narbeth in Pembrokeshire during the 1920s, Wendy Jones’s novel is a deceptive, subtly humorous entrance to the mores and social conventions of a world gone by.
The Captains Wife – Eiluned Lewis
After travelling the world on her husband’s ship, ‘the captain’s wife’ is now settled with children in the little cathedral town of St Idris (St. Davids) in Pembrokeshire. This atmospheric and poignant novel creates vivid imagery of the saint-haunted hills, farms coastline and cathedral. Written during the Second World War, this novel nostalgically looks back on Pembrokeshire during this period.
The Owl Service – Alan Garner
A story inspired by the Blodeuwedd myth from the Mabinogin (a famous collection of old Welsh legends). In a secluded welsh valley, the characters of three young people unfold as the tragic legend recurs. Two men who once loved the same girl have killed each other, leaving later generations to play out the terror of the ancient triangle. The brooding power of the supernatural makes this an unforgettable book.
The House on The Cliff – Charlotte Williams
This focused psychological drama unfolds the story of a crime – a mysterious drowning 20 years previously. Williams manages to generate considerable intrigue from limited ingredients within the novel. The tale of raw emotions and explosive rage is perfectly supported by the landscape of the story that switches from the bustling welsh city Cardiff to the Wild Pembrokeshire coast.
The Shiver Stone – Sharon Tregenza
The beautiful beaches of Pembrokeshire make a wonderful backdrop for this children’s thriller adventure. The simple favour of looking after a small dog for an afternoon leads Carys into a strange mystery when his owner seems to have disappeared. A beautifully crafted plot that perfectly balances family drama with mystery.
So if you’ve read the books, why not visit the places?
Here at coastal cottages we want to bring readers even closer to their favourite books and writers by visiting the famous locations in which these novels are set. Watch the scenes come to life or see where your favourite author’s inspiration came from to really enhance your reading experience! We have lots of fantastic properties that are a perfect base to explore story locations, or why not bring your book club to Pembrokeshire!? Click here to view our available properties or call us today on 01437 765 765.
We have a variety of larger properties perfect to host the perfect book club experience, we can even arrange Angel Mountain Saga author Brian John to come to the property for an evening talk, or take your reading group out on a walking guided tour! With help from our Concierge Team you can even add a host of finishing including drinks and nibbles!
We’d love to hear your reviews on any of the above fantastic novels, or if you have any additions to add to the list please get in touch! Next week we will be calling upon all Angel Mountain Saga fans, as we take a closer look at its beautiful locations and speaking to the fantastic author Brian John.