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The Welsh girl
Peter Ho Davies
Adult Fiction DAVIES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Esther, a WWII-era Welsh barmaid, finds her father-a fiercely nationalistic, anti-English shepherd-provincial; she daydreams that she'll elope to London with her secret sweetheart, an English soldier. In short order, Esther is raped by her boyfriend, and her Welsh village is turned into a dumping ground for German prisoners. Meanwhile, Karsten, a German POW who is mortified that he'd ordered his men to surrender, believes that only by escaping can he find redemption. Davies (Equal Love) uses the familiar tensions of WWII Britain to nice ensemble effect: among the more nuanced secondary characters is a British captain who is the son of a German-Jewish WWI hero-the man's father had always considered himself a Lutheran until the Nazi ascension forced him to flee Germany. As Esther begins to question her own allegiances, Karsten comes into her orbit. What makes this first novel by an award-winning short-storyteller an intriguing read isn't the plot-which doesn't quite go anywhere-but the beautifully realized characters, who learn that life is a jumble of difficult compromises best confronted with eyes wide open. (Feb. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This debut novel by an award-winning short story writer is set during World War II in northern Wales, where German POWs are held in a low-security prison. The intertwining stories involve a farm girl named Esther, who becomes pregnant after being raped by an English soldier; German POW Karsten, who is ashamed of surrendering in battle; and Jewish interrogator Rotheram, who is trying to refute captured Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess's claims of amnesia. From behind the prison fence, Karsten becomes friendly with Esther. He later escapes and hides at Esther's farm. Karsten and Esther share their fears, humiliation, and shame, which eventually leads to an affectionate sexual episode before Karsten gives himself up and returns to prison. The honesty of their short-lived relationship enables them to make life-accepting decisions about their own futures. In contrast, Rotheram witnesses Hess's denial of personal responsibility, which results in a long physical and spiritual imprisonment. The characters are heartfelt and real and events vividly and memorably described. Recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/06.]-David A. Beron?, Plymouth State Univ., NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Esther Evans
Female
Age: 17
Welsh
Daughter of a nationalistic, anti-English shepherd; daydreams about eloping to England with an English soldier; works at the local pub; raped by her boyfriend; village is turned into a place to hold German prisoners; falls in love with Karsten.

Karsten Simmering
Male
German
Angry at himself for making his men surrender; determined to escape; seeks redemption; falls in love with Esther.
Soldier



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