Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: The Bones of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory

the bones of our fathersTitle ~ The Bones of Our Fathers

Author ~ Elin Gregory 

Publisher ~ Manifold Press

Published ~ 1st August 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.


Cheryl’s Review

I was first attracted to this book because it is set in Wales and I don’t get to read too many from my little green corner of the globe. It’s the first book I’ve read from this author and you can be sure I will be reading more.

The story is set in and around a small museum-cum-library in a Welsh border town. Sadly, Pemberland doesn’t actually exist but it very well might, as it represents the essential flavour of such towns very well indeed.

Mal, the new curator of the town museum (recently renamed The Pemberland Center for Heritage) is struggling to fend off the encroachment of the local library, and particularly its bossy librarian, which is supposed to be sharing, but seems to be trying to take over, the space in the old building in which they are housed. Mal dislikes confrontation, preferring to hide in his office. Fair play, mind, it was the museum first, but the previous curator was a little old lady and whilst she might have been formidable, had no heart to fight of the dragon – er librarian.

Thanks to some very colourful characters he’s dragged out kicking and screaming and finds himself actually having not bad a time, especially when he’s with Rob, a typical, Welsh lad who has his eye on Mal and doesn’t mind anyone knowing about it – in the earthiest of terms – that sometimes causes Mal to wish the earth would open up and swallow him.

Speaking of which, the earth kind of does open up but rather than swallowing anything, it offers up some rather unusual skeletons that Pemberley (or at least most of it) will go to great lengths to keep hold of.

This book feels like home to me. Everything is well-worn and familiar and it catches the essence of South East Wales to a tee in so many ways. I know the characters, see them every day on the streets (and in the pubs) of my village. The author has a wonderful way of flavouring the characters, situations and descriptions in a very warm, playful, Welsh way. Councillor Pugh (which incidentally was my grandfather – no seriously, his name was William Pugh and he was a councillor in Ynyshir during the war) is hilarious in a very serious way. When he asked if the archaeological remains were like Tooting Carmen I almost lost it.

Although the story unfolds slowly and methodically – as archaeology tends to – it in no way drags and its pace is fast enough to keep the most avid reader entertained.

On the surface, there isn’t much happening for most of the book, action wise, but there is so much richness in the little things – a good curry, a game of pool and a meeting of “the only gays in the village”.

Although the book isn’t meant to be a comedy (I think) it’s extremely humorous and had me chuckling many times. My only concern is that some of the humour might be “in jokes” and lost on the non-Welsh, so to speak. If you cut the book in half it would have “Cymru Am Byth” (Wales Forever) written through the middle of it. Everything from the cadence of language, to idioms, to place/character names to humour and lifestyle is small-town Welsh and I LOVE it.

For a non-Welsh audience, there is warmth about the writing that welcomes you in and doesn’t seek to imprint its Welshness on you. However, before you know it you’ll be eating welshcakes and looking at sheep with a whole new perspective.

Mind the dragon now, will you?

Purchase Links




Connect with Elin Gregory

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that's a pretty cool job.

Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.

Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.




  1. What a lovely review, Cheryl. I'm not Welsh, nor do I have any connection to Wales, but I still adored the story. You've put down perfectly what's so delightful about it. I was so excited by the second line of your review because you have some wonderful stories awaiting you. My first from her was Alike as Two Bees and something about it just made me think I wouldn't ever get tired of reading her stories. Though I haven't read her stories in the anthologies she's been part of, with her single published ones, that's been true so far!

    1. Thank you! I'm excited too. I love it when I find a new favourite author because there are so many new books to dip into all at once