Here are Lovers
Editor: Diana Wallace
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"The poor are free in no country, ma'am, and under no laws."
So says Gronwy Griffith, the Welsh 'peasant scholar' at the centre of Here are Lovers - the story of Laetitia Wingfield, the beautiful and bookish daughter of the local Anglicised Squire Wingfield, and Gronwy Griffith, the son of one of his Welsh tenant farmers, who longs to be a classical scholar.
Bored and frustrated with the restricted life of a Victorian young lady, Laetitia encounters the romance she so longs for when she becomes lost during a clandestine night-time ride and is rescued by Gronwy. Attempting to assist Gronwy's ambitions by lending him books from her father's library, Laetitia becomes increasingly aware of her own disempowerment and the passionate desires which drive her into a love affair with him. Their secret meetings are paralleled with the tender relationship developing between Gronwy's brother Peter, and another local farmer's daughter, Elizabeth Evans.
After Gronwy is imprisoned for inciting a riot at the local by-election, the novel moves inexorably towards its tragic ending at the local 'Wishing Chair', a throne-like slab of rock above the river where the lovers meet.
Opening in the spring of 1866, Here are Lovers is set in 'Llangantyn', Radnorshire and was originally published in 1926, the year of the General Strike - it is one of the few novels to centre on an election.
Both Gronwy and Laetitia are trapped, one by class, the other by gender, but it is Vaughan's exploration of the ways in which these intersect with nationality in nineteenth-century Wales which lifts this novel above the ordinary. A highly accomplished historical novel which reworks the tradition of Sir Walter Scott.
Praise for Here are Lovers
"Vaughan offers a biting portrayal of material, intellectual and emotional poverty, of repressed sexuality, social injustice and blighted dreams."
Clare Walker Gore, Two Feminist Classics, Women: A Cultural Review, 26:3, 343-346
"Personal ambition, political upheaval and sexual passion are the themes through which Hilda Vaughan sets out to illuminate the mores and prejudices of two distinctly different classes of Welshness... a closely considered and intense examination of the female consciousness struggling to define itself in a hostile environment."
Clare Morgan, Times Literary Supplement
"Miss Vaughan has captured both the letter and the spirit of her period with brilliant success, and her men and women, for all their whiskers and whalebone, are real breathing human beings."
Foreward/Intro by: Diana Wallace
Category: Fiction, Classics
First published by Honno in : September 2012Latest edition: