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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2003
Hearts of Gold is the first in a series of eight books following the fortunes of a small community in Pontypridd in Wales. They are set from before the second world war to just after it. Each book focuses on the same characters but from a a slightly different aspect although still entwining the story around all the characters. Through the books you follow the characters while they grow and suffer the hardships and the ups and downs of life in the mining town. Throughout the story the author makes the reader laugh and cry and feel a number of differing emotions. The series can be read individually but I think that they are well worth reading from start to finish. I read all eight books over a period of two months and found that each one was even more enthralling than the last. Now I've finished the series I feel totally lost as the books are so well written that the characters seemed so real I feel that I've lost my friends. The books were passed to me by my mother and she felt exactly the same about them. The series is Hearts of Gold, One Blue Moon, A Silver Lining, All That Glitters, Such Sweet Sorrow, Past Remembering, Broken Rainbows and finally Spoils of War.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2002
This book is centered in Pontypridd in the heart of the depression. Bethan Powell rises from poverty to become a trainee midwife and falls in love with a young, rich doctor, Andrew. The story is of her struggle to better herself. Love, romance, families, poverty - a good read, you won't want to turn out the light
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2009
I first stumbled across these books in the doctors waiting room. I began reading Silver Lining first. Unaware that it was actually one of many books. I was captaviated by Catrin Colliers discription of the people and places of Pontypridd. Even going as far in my mind to link it to places I had been. I could easily picture the long steep walk home, and the cafe in main street.
Her way with words made it easy to feel compassion for the characters she had created. Remembering that although it is a work of fiction it is based very closely on the reality of day to day living people endured in the early 1900's.

I was very excited to realise afterwards that although the Hearts of Gold Saga had finished, there we're other books, that still carried on the lives of the men and women featured but this time as parents and sometimes grand parents.
A truely delightfull read. In the last 4 months I have read every single book I have been able to get my hands on, courtsey of my local library, and passed them on to my mum. If you want something you can get lost in and have time on your hands to read these books are a must!!!!!!!!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2004
Even as someone who does not like reading I found it difficult to put this book down. The detail in the writing is excellant and within the first page you are intrigued and want to read more. You soon feel as though you know the characters and even though I have never been in their specific situations I felt as though I could relate to many of the issues raised in the book, and because of this I feel as though I know each character personnally. Although there are alot of characters, their lives intertwine so perfectly, and the detail is so precise, that it is not at all a labourous read, as many books with so much content can be. I finished the book within three days and can not wait to start 'One Blue Moon'. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a heart-warming read, with a few tear jerkers along the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2014
This book sets the scene for the Powell family and their friends and relatives in the Graig, on the poor side of the Common in Pontypridd. The story is well written with fiction woven around the social history of the time. Valley communities were tight and would stick together but despite the community mindedness there was also the small minded, nosey neighbour attitudes and the shame from any scandal that threatened to shake a family's values to the core. This book is set in the 1930's right in the heart of the depression and the families depicted are struggling to survive. The story centres on Bethan the eldest daughter of Evan and Elizabeth Powell. Bethan is a nurse and a major contributor to the household, helping to keep the family from total poverty. Her brothers Haydn and Eddie are struggling to find decent and steady jobs and the youngest Maud is still at school. When Bethan meets the younger Dr John her life looks as if it may change for the better and to keep up with Andrew John, from the "crache" she has to dress the part.

The story runs along comfortably and just as I wondered where it was going it twisted and turned keeping me on my toes. I did find the story predictable in parts but even so, that did not detract from the interesting subject matter or my enjoyment of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2014
The tale is set in a South Wales mining town during the depression era, and the storyline reflected the bleakness era. I found it a very depressing read and struggled to get to the end of the book. Despite a vast amount of text there never seemed to be any real depth to the main characters. I persevered in the hope that at some stage the plot would pick up pace but it just plodded on and I never found myself engaging or sympathising with Bethan and her family. I won't be reading the other seven books planned in this series.
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on 23 February 2014
If you like Catherine Cookson, you will almost certainly enjoy this book. The author also writes
as Katherine John, and I have reviewed 2 of those books.

I agree with some reviewers that there were too many characters to remember and it was a bit slow in
places. Though I enjoyed the book, I didn't relate to the characters enough to want to read it again,
or buy any more in this series, though I would buy the K. John ones.

Miner's daughter Bethan is training as a nurse and meets rich handsome doctor. Usual thing of course -
is he just "using" her, or could his intentions really be honorable?
Like Cookson, the poverty, the family upsets and the poor living conditions are well portrayed.

An easily read book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
Brilliant book.I could not put it down very easy to get into the story right from the start.
The end of the story for me was very disappointing not what I was hoping for but hopefully it will pick up in
The next. book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2013
Very good description of welsh family life of the time. Really enjoyed this book as the area was fairly familiar to me so i could identify with it easily. Well written & good story.
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A lovely book and one to get totally immersed in. However the editing left a lot to be desired with words used wrongly, spelling poor and new paragraphs starting in the middle of sentences. What on earth has happened to our wonderful English language. I am sure if Catrin Collier read this edition of her book she would be as annoyed as I am to see her work presented in this way. However I do have the rest of the series which I will read as I think the stories make for a great read and would recommend the books for this reason. It missed 5 stars because of the incompetent editing and proof reading.
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