Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier 5/5
One look was enough. Amy Watkins and miner ‘Big’ Tom Kelly were in love. But can they keep their feelings secret or face the threat of death in a community torn apart by the miner’s strike? Tonypandy, South Wales, 1911. Starving, striking miners fight soldiers and police on the picket lines for the right to earn a wage that will feed their families, while Irish labourers are brought in the take their place in the pits, for half their pay. Handsome ‘Big’ Tom Kelly, an Irish worker, comes to Wales looking for a better life and believes he has found it when he falls in love with Amy Watkins, the daughter of a strike leader. At night, the miners search out the Irish men, drag them from their beds, beat them and then hang them from the street lamp posts. Can Amy and Tom keep their love a secret forever? All they want is a future together. But in a world full of hatred, anger and violence, their dream seems impossible. Until another strike leader offers them a way out.
This is short story included in the Quick Reads Campaign. Quick Reads can be read in one or two sittings.
I was thoroughly drawn into Amy and Tom’s story. The Welsh miners in Tonypandy went on strike, and the mine bosses brought in Irish men to fill their jobs. Needless to say, the locals were not happy. One of these Irish ‘Blacklegs’ is Tom, and he falls head over heels for Amy, the daughter of one of the striking miners. The historical truths, teamed with the main characters and sub characters backstories make for an interesting read. You can’t help but root for Amy and Tom, and the ending was perfect.
I would recommend this book as a summer read, and those interested in historical fiction would enjoy this story.
The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties
All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman
K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review