Reviewer Fran Lewis:
Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing
Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters degrees and
a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently. She is a member of
Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's
Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition,
she is the author of three children's books and a fourth Alzheimer’s
book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s story
in honor of her mom. Fran
hopes to create more awareness for a cure of Alzheimer.
She was also the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school's newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of my reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished under the name Gabina. Follow Here To Listen to Fran's Radio Show and Here
Author: Susan Taylor
Publisher: Aldridge Press
Margaret Ann was
headstrong, concerned about having a better life and wanted to earn
her way as an independent woman. Tough as nails, hardheaded and
definitely a force to be reckoned with, Margaret Ann although married
to Reverend Morgan Humphrey Jones was anything but content with her
love. Although he was devoted to his congregation and loved creating
his sermons, Margaret Ann had other ideas for her life that
definitely did not include living the life that he had set out for
her. He loved books, devotion to the chapel and she had spunk, wanted
to created her own business and although she at the time had two
young children and a third on the way she was unstoppable and wanted
nothing more than to soar on her own, become independent and own her
own bakeshop hoping to drive her family’s income higher working to
make sure that her children had good educations and were able to
attend the universities of their choice but first she had to find a
way to get a lease for the property and during this time period that
was unheard of.
Women did not own land or property and although her husband thought about moving the family to America with his family now on their way, Margaret Ann refused to leave the town where they lived and told him he could go alone. Rhondda village of Wattstown is where this story takes place and the poverty was ever present and the thought that her sons would work in the coal minds and her daughter’s domestic service or maids did not hold for her. The story begins with her final hours and flashes back to where it all began as we learn about her wants, gains and the fact that she wanted to be first and foremost with her husband and often resented his feelings and love for her own children. Margaret wanted to be number one with everyone.
Years pass as the author takes us on a journey through time with Margaret Ann having nine children each with his or her own distinct personality and views towards school, work and education. William her oldest dropped out of school at 15 and decided he would work for he railway because he was smarter than most students and could write neater, better and was great in math. The sisters were different and each wanted school while one did not and was given the chore of taking care of her younger brothers and sister. Each child was required to give money into the house, do daily chores or go to school. But, Morgan as a teen had his own ideas and when Margaret Ann finds him in a billiard hall the scene is priceless and she is strong and never backs down. As the story progresses her husband finally gives up the ministry to become what you might say is a freelance speaker but he never stands up to her and she runs the family and roost with an iron hand as she expects everyone to do as she says. Her ideals and her wisdom for her family’s successes shine through even when others in the small town frown upon her ways.
Life changed as the Co-op came in and businesses were taken over and had to be sold as Margaret Ann faced losing it all at the hand of people that she was supposed to trust. Finding her way to get the best price for the bakeshop and the post office sent them moving again to another house and hopefully able to make ends meet. Each of her older children working or going to school, they seemed successful but the next step would be hers.
Things take on another turn as William declares his love for Ann Thomas and his mother is furious. Thinking he is disloyal to the family and does not want him to marry her since her family comes first. As Edgar becomes a well renowned speaker and the death toll rises from the shot fire in the colliery, things become tense and bodies have to be buried as William achieves another position but this time with the Cooperative Company. Bread and Heaven deals with one family’s zest for success and life living in the South of Wales in a coal mining valley at the turn of the century. The Jones family goes through many changes, places to live and ways to deal with tragedy, family living, speaking Welsh in their home and understanding how Margaret Ann spent her whole life trying to improve the lives of her children, prove to herself that she can rise above and lift her family from the coalfields and poverty into a life that would give them security. The family photos tell their own story and show Margaret Ann through the years and the growth of the family in size.
As the years pass on and changes occur Edgar gets a position in Parliament, where William a huge promotion and the family moves again to a larger home. The girls as educators and the young ones in school, Morgan seeking a wife and Mam not happy when things are not under her control tragedy strikes and will the family ban together? Family changes, deaths, more moves and for over 70 years she ran her family with an iron hand and died at the age of 96. A story so compelling, so well told and a family whose legacy will live on forever as we got to know Mrs. Margaret Jones and her amazing children, grandchildren and the people whose lives she impacted and will never forget her. Read the epilogue to learn why. Margaret Jones died and lived her life her way.