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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review - Thicker Than Water by Bethan Darwin

About Bethan Darwin

Toronto born but Rhondda raised, Bethan studied law at King's College London and was a partner in a law firm in the City of London for some years before homesickness got the better of her and she returned to Wales.

Bethan is now a solicitor and partner at a Cardiff law firm. She also runs women’s networking group Superwoman, writes a bi-weekly column for the Western Mail and is a regular contributor on BBC Wales. She and her husband have two children. It's a struggle finding time to write fiction but she squeezes it in instead of doing housework or going to the gym.

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Review by Suze

Gareth has the perfect life. He has his own law firm, is happily married to Rachel and they have four adorable children. They live in their dream home and Rachel also has a job she likes, working as a lawyer somewhere else. It's all working out more than fine until Gareth meets Cassandra, his new client. She's the managing director of a Canadian shirt company and she's looking for a manufacturing space in Wales. Gareth know this is exactly the kind of job he's been waiting for, but working with Cassandra will mean taking huge risks...
 Idris wants to stop working in the mines and decides he needs a change. It's just after the First World War and in Canada there are a lot of jobs available. He leaves everyone he loves behind. His heart is broken and he hopes he'll find someone who can mend it in Canada. Idris is one of Gareth's ancestors and there's an important reason why he left. Something that will even be of influence many generations later.
Thicker Than Water is a beautiful story set in both the present and the past. I enjoyed reading about Gareth's family life. Rachel is a fantastic woman and they have sweet children. Bethan Darwin describes the family in a wonderful warm way. Idris is a kindhearted and caring man, who's willing to do anything for the people he loves. His story is interesting and I loved reading about his early years in Canada. Bethan Darwin has chosen intriguing main characters for her story. I especially liked Gareth's oldest daughter Eloise. She's funny and has a strong will. I equally enjoyed reading about both the characters from the past and the present and loved all the complex family connections.
Thicker Than Water is a story filled with stunning sadness. There are many good and meaningful moments as well, but life isn't perfect and Bethan Darwin describes it in an honest and realistic way. Her scenes are raw and emotional, which for me was what I loved the most about this book. Some parts are heartbreaking and the story made me feel many different things. I love it when an author manages to do that.
I liked the fact that Thicker Than Water is set in Cardiff and Canada in two different periods of time. Bethan Darwin knows what she's writing about and has clearly done a lot of research. I liked the way she uses difficult situations of the past as a base for her family story. She's written about intriguing bonds and captivating secrets. The ending is surprising and I had a lump in my throat while I was reading the final chapters. I really enjoyed reading this book, from the first sentence to the last, and highly recommend it.

If you're from the UK you can enter for a chance to win one of five copies of Thicker Than Water.


  1. Interesting book and as always wonderful review.

  2. I'd like to win a copy for my mum.
    jen dot barnard at btinternet dot com

  3. Really interesting review and I love the cover :> :>

  4. Sounds like an interesting book, but I get enough "stunning sadness" from watching the news every night.

  5. If it's good enough to really impress Suze then it's good enough for me!

  6. I came across this book yesterday, while browsing on Amazon-- I think the (delicious) cover might have lured me in!
    Now, I'm glad to have found this review. I appreciate it when an author is able to weave together multiple places and times.