Give Us This Day

The Merthyr Rising

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
334 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2022
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Author Biography

Rebecca Bryn lives in West Wales with her husband and rescue dog, where she paints the fabulous Pembrokeshire coast in watercolours and writes historical, mystery, and fantasy fiction with a twist.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

The secret behind Give Us This Day lies in the subtitle: The Merthyr Rising. The setting is the coal mines and ironworks of South Wales as they existed in the early nineteenth century. On one side are the wealthy mine owners and ironmasters. On the other, their poverty-stricken workers whose plight is worsened by the truck system – payment in the form of tokens, which could only be spent in shops run by their employers. Into the mix comes Reverend Evan Rees, sent by the Methodist Church to tackle “a den of iniquity and ungodliness – a hotbed of vice, disease, and violence”. Rebecca Bryn’s writing flows like a river in spate, carving its course through dramatic living history, making it a novel to be read and reread.

I was utterly captivated by Give Us This Day. The rest of the prayer in the title – “our daily bread” – rang in my head before I began to read. Workers, masters, politicians, and families, both real and fictional, are beautifully rounded characters – none totally wicked, and none impossibly good. Evan, the minister, finds his faith in God challenged as he attempts to mediate a peaceful solution. The battle for justice, involving actual people, is shown against a fascinating fictional “Montague and Capulet” romance. Gwenllian is the minister’s daughter, and Sam is a rogue. The bad boy of Merthyr, he calls theft “the redistribution of property” and waves a bloodied red flag on the barricades. Rebecca Bryn has brought history to dramatic life!