Heartbreak in the Valleys
Blog Tour, Book on the Bright Side, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Heartbreak in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi


The world was crumbling, but her love stayed strong.

November 1915. For young housemaid, Anwen Rhys, life is hard in the Welsh mining village of Dorcalon, deep in the Rhymney Valley. She cares for her ill mother and beloved younger sister Sara, all while shielding them from her father’s drunken, violent temper. Anwen comforts herself with her love for childhood sweetheart, Idris Hughes, away fighting in the Great War. 

Yet when Idris returns, he is a changed man; no longer the innocent boy she loved, he is harder, more distant, quickly breaking off their engagement. And when tragedy once again strikes her family, Anwen’s heart is completely broken.

But when an explosion at the pit brings unimaginable heartache to Dorcalon, Anwen and Idris put their feelings aside to unite their mining community.

In the midst of despair, can Anwen find hope again? And will she ever find the happiness she deserves?

A beautiful, emotional and heart-breaking saga set in the Welsh Valleys of the Great War that fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin and Sheila Newbury will love.


Set during the beginning of WWI in a small Welsh mining town, Anwen is dumped by her oldest friend and fiance, Idris, after he returns home with a medical discharge and told he is unfit for battle. 

Anwen Rhys is devastated by her fiance canceling their engagement and on top of that she is looking for another job, her mother is an invalid and in her bed all day, and Anwen’s father, a miner, is getting even more drunk and abusive toward her and her younger sister, Sara. Add to that, the ramp-up of the war and the scarcity of food and essentials, especially for the working class. What is a girl to do when she is pretty much the adult running the home after working as a screener in the mine all day?  After yet another shattering event in her life, she eventually finds a job as a housemaid for a middle-class family and finds a true friend in Elizabeth Meredith, her boss’s daughter, Suffragette supporter, and organizer of the community garden coop.

There certainly is a lot of heartbreak in this emotional story of a close-knit community trying to make a living during the part of WWI. The story is centered around Anwen and Idris who still love each other, but he thinks he’s not good enough for her due to his medical condition. There is also an interesting mystery of food going missing and profiteering. I also really enjoyed the brilliant idea of a food coop creating gardens by helping a local farmer who needs workers and in-kind, he provides the seeds for the garden. 

As you can see there is a lot going on in this somber and compelling historical read which contains serious subject matter such as abuse and bullying. If you enjoy historical fiction set during WWI with strong female protagonists, give this book a try.

Thank you to Ms. Capaldi for the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Heartbreak in the Valleys

Amazon UK Amazon US


francesca-capaldiSeveral years ago, Francesca Capaldi pursued a childhood dream and joined a creative writing class. Lots of published short stories, a serial, and three pocket novels later, she’s now explored her mother’s ancestral history for a novel set in a Welsh colliery village. A history graduate and former teacher, she hails from the Sussex coast but now lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrissian.

Follow Francesca on Facebook, her blog, and Twitter.



Heartbreak in the Valleys Banner



5 thoughts on “Heartbreak in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi”

Leave a Reply