The Battle to the Weak

Series: Library of Wales (v. 27)

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In the first and, arguably, the finest of Hilda Vaughan's ten novels the dawn of the twentieth century brings a new generation that clashes with the conservative traditionalism of an old Welsh way of life. Rhys Lloyd and his engagement with the ideas of Social Darwinism and the League of Nations make him a dangerous figure in the village. The son of a Welsh-speaking Nonconformist, his love for the church-going Esther reflects tensions that have long and bitterly divided the community. Most striking, however, is the stoic and determined Esther who calmly suffers the casual brutality of her agricultural upbringing, drawing on an inner strength and organic spirituality that would provide an archetype for Vaughan's later heroines. Despite a loving and sensitive depiction of her native Radnorshire landscape, Vaughan offers no rural idyll. The Battle to the Weak is a vividly drawn, socially engaged portrait of a small rural Welsh community with an awareness of its context within the wider world.