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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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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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on 11 April 2015
I somehow missed this one when I originally read (or thought I had) all the series set in Pontypridd area. You really feel you know the characters and, even though a number of the 'local' names are thinly disguised, it is a joy placing Catrin's characters in an area I know well. I also like the way you get references to characters when following a different person's story - which makes them utterly believable.
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on 5 September 2014
I loved this story of family life in Wales in the thirties. It shows very clearly and often amusingly the divide between the rich and poor classes, the rich seriously debating the merits of crushed or mushy ice in cocktails while the poor struggle to survive. When you think its going to be predictable there are slightly unexpected twists that keep you interested right to the end. I will certainly read the next in the series.
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on 9 December 2013
After reading this, I went out and bought the whole series (in paperback.)

I loved this book and its descriptions of Welsh life (pre war.) Catrin Collier has an amazing talent, making the characters and settings literally come to life. The book is full of 'real-life' situations (mines/markets/family life/gossips) with all its ups and downs, it all makes you connect and emphasise with the characters (even to the 'not so nice' ones.)

I really enjoyed reading this book (and all the others!)

Well worth the 5*
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on 13 November 2014
A wonderful tale of the problems faced by various families in Pontypridd and the impact these have on those they associate with. Written with such understanding and empathy. Eager to read more by this talented author.
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