Today’s Inheritance Books come from Superwoman Bethan Darwin. Hi Bethan, welcome to Inheritance Books. Take a seat on the sofa. Would you like a slice of cake? Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
I’m a lawyer based in Cardiff, specialising in employment and corporate law, a proud Mum of two and a happy wife which is just as well as my husband is also a lawyer and we work together. I run a women’s networking group called Superwoman which also raises money for charities at its events, I write a bi-weekly column on law for Wales’ national newspaper The Western Mail and regularly review the papers for a variety of BBC Radio Wales programmes.
I was born in Toronto but from the age of 5 I grew up in Clydach Vale in the Rhondda Valleys where my mother also grew up. My parents didn’t speak Welsh themselves (my Dad is a proud Lancastrian) but they sent me and my three siblings to Welsh medium schools and I am fiercely proud of being a fluent Welsh speaker. My children also attend Welsh medium schools.
I wrote my first novel, Back Home, mostly when on maternity leave with my daughter Megan who is 11 now. It was published by Honno in 2009 and my second, Two Times Twenty, was published in 2010. It has taken a while for me to write a third – Thicker than Water – and it features the Rhondda, lawyers and Toronto. There are always lawyers somewhere in my books!
My favourite way to relax is for the four of us to walk our two dogs on the beach at Barry Island. I am a better version of myself when I am by the sea.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
My mother had the Enid Blyton “Adventure” series as a child and they were on a bookshelf in my grandmother’s house when I was growing up. They had hardback brown covers and had a particular special smell. My grandmother liked them to stay at her house so I wasn’t allowed to take them home with me and I read the entire series during visits to my grandmother, lying on the landing upstairs next to the bookshelf. I don’t know what happened to the books in the end but they sparked a love of reading that has continued throughout my life.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I read it first at school and loved it and have read it every five years or so since. It’s a long story of family and love and landscape. My 17yo son is named Caleb so he’s already inherited something from the book. He read it last year.
I had a similar relationship with Enid Blyton, starting with The Famous Five. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us. All the best with your latest book!
Bethan’s book Thicker Than Water is available to buy now. You can catch up with Bethan on Twitter (@bethandarwin).