Heartbreak in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi @FCapaldiBurgess @BOTBSPublicity @HeraBooks #blogtour #authorinterview

Heartbreak in the valleys cover

It’s Wednesday!! Half way through the week!! Today I’m kicking off the blog tour for Francesca Capaldi’s Heartbreak In The Valleys.

Many thanks to the fabulous Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me on the blog tour.

The Blurb

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.

Heartbreak in the Valleys Banner

The Interview

Welcome Francesca to A Knight’s Reads and thank you for agreeing to answer some questions.

What attracted you to writing historical fiction?

I’ve loved history since I was a child and ended up doing a history degree when I left school. My favourite module on the course was one in which we used primary sources to put together the local history of an area. I was in my element! However, when I started writing professionally, many years later, I mainly wrote contemporary short stories and novels. It was a chance find on the Ancestry website, the World War 1 record of my great grandfather, Hugh, that got me started in earnest on the historical route.

What made you set the story in Wales?

The great grandfather in question was Welsh, as was my mother. The village in my novel, Dorcalon, is imaginary, but it’s based on the one my mother and grandmother were born in, namely, Abertysswg, in the Rhymney Valley.

Are any of the characters based on real characters or are they purely fictional?

Despite the story starting with Hugh’s war record, Idris, the main male character, isn’t based on him. This is partly because I have no idea what he was like. He died before my mother was born and it never occurred to me to ask anyone else who might have known him. The only person in the novel based on anyone is the minor character, Mary Jones, who works on the allotment. She was my great grandmother (not Hugh’s wife, but on the other side) and was living in Abertysswg in World War 1 with her family, including my grandmother, Charlotte, who also makes a tiny appearance. Mary died when I was twenty-nine and I still miss her, so it was a way of bringing her back to life.

How much research did you have to do for Heartbreak in the Valleys?

A tremendous amount. It wasn’t only about having a general idea of the history of that era, which I did, but about really getting an idea of the day to day lives of those people at that time in that area. For this, I not only acquired a huge stack of books, some of them personal stories, but used online primary sources, like the census and local newspapers. I’d have loved to have spent some time in the local records office there, but it’s quite a way from Kent and never happened. I’m hoping to do it in the future.

Will there be more from Anwen and Idris?

There’s a book planned for the autumn in which we’ll hear something of their continuing story, though it will revolve more around Anwen’s friend, Violet.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

I always find this question difficult! I’ve read so many different authors who I think have inspired me, even if they write in a different genre. Two authors who’ve helped me form an idea of the area and community are the late Jack Jones and Menna Gallie.

What is your proudest bookish moment to date?

Seeing the cover for Heartbreak in the Valley. I’d had loads of short stories and three pocket novels published, but this was the first full length novel so was rather special to me.

What are you currently working on at the moment and what can we look forward to from you in the future?

I’m coming to the end of editing for the novel due out in the autumn. It’s currently called War in the Valley, though that might change.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog.

Who Is Francesca Capaldi?


Several 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.

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