For the Love of Catherine

Written by Carole Llewellyn
Review by Geoffrey Harfield

Crossing on the Titanic to see her sister on the New York stage, a young mother, Mair (the heroine of the story); her toddler daughter, Catherine; and a Welsh woman, Ethel, rush to the lifeboats when they strike the iceberg. Mair goes back for a precious jewel and so is separated from Ethel and Catherine. How they meet up again and Mair’s adventures as a nurse in London, tracing her prostitute mother, form a major part of the story.

If you like irregular relationships, with a 17-year-old mother with an intriguing back story, this book is for you. Mair’s thoughts and wishes often seem those of a mature woman. Chances have been missed to detail settings. ‘Suitable acommodation’ is not enough to describe their ship’s cabin, ‘various items on a table,’ likewise. At other times unwarranted detail is given. Who cares what the table’s made of when a discussion’s in progress?

Back in Wales the outbreak of war sends Mair’s intended husband (Ethel’s son) to the front. He returns shell-shocked for Mair to nurse. Separated by hospital, taut and unresolved sexual tension comes before eventual marriage.

Despite minor errors in London locations, this is a most enjoyable, hard-to-put-down story of hope against disaster. Its use of Welsh dialect words is welcome in the loving relationships. For the sensitive: be warned that Mair was raped, and the teenage Catherine wants to marry the rapist’s son, her half-brother until…

Tensions are racked up and resolutions cleverly invented, as the story has subtle devices to get the writer out of the trouble she’s written herself into!