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Stepping into the new season with a lively coming of age story


The daffodils are bursting from the ground and there are hints of sunshine peaking through the residual winter rainclouds, the perfect time to pick up Spring’s Green Shadow by Cecily Mackworth, a coming of age story set in rural Wales and Paris.

Set in the early 20th century, Spring’s Green Shadow feels like a modern addition to the Welsh Women’s Classics series, both in its writing and content. Mackworth tackles issues of womanhood, growing up and independence with a boldness that caught me by surprise, most likely inspired by her own remarkable life (the introduction by Angela V. John is a fantastic insight to the origins of this story).

We begin with young Laura—a disappointment to her wealthy parents—who is trapped in her Welsh rural village and an outsider because of her wealth. Her disinterested parents enlist the help of controversial tutor Mr Howells when Laura fails to get a place in the school of her mother’s choice and this starts an epic journey for Laura into learning.

Mr Howell’s becomes a powerful and inspirational figure in Laura’s life, but she is too young to properly understand his world or the tumultuous relationship he has with his own children. Through him she is inspired to travel to Paris and embark on adventures of her own, but in doing so she encounters Idris—Mr Howell’s rebellious son—and her life begins to shape itself around him.

But Idris is a toxic and selfish character who can only be replaced by Laura’s cruel parents and all have an idea of who Laura should be. When Laura is eventually given diaries from Mr Howell’s old friend she begins to learn more about the man who shaped her and how she must shake his influence to truly become herself.

In Spring’s Green Shadow Mackworth delivers an insightful look into growing up different and lost. Her writing flows smoothly and easily. Her scenes are vivid and lively. This is March’s pick for Honno’s Classic Reading challenge, but I would say this is a great book to start the challenge with.

Lynzie Fitzpatrick – March 2024

[Lynzie Fitzpatrick, Honno’s Business Manager, is one of the team embarking on the Classics Reading Challenge this year. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more updates and reviews of our Welsh Women’s Classics]

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