January 25th is Welsh Lover’s Day, celebrating Saint Dwynwen, a 5th century princess who was thwarted in love. Dwynwen had 23 sisters. She fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill but her father, King Brychan, would not allow her to marry him. Dwynwen fled to the woods, and Maelon was turned into a block of ice.
After her fervent prayers, God granted Dwynwen three wishes: Maelon would be thawed, God would help all true lovers, and she would never marry. She became a nun and set up a convent in a remote corner of Ynys Môn (Anglesey). Close to the convent was a sacred well. Lovers could ask questions about their future and wives could test the faithfulness of their husbands with the aid of a magical eel that lived in the well.
One of the things I like about Saint Dwynwen’s Day is that it is a day to celebrate all kinds of love – not only romantic love. So I’d like to celebrate my long, close friendship with Bob, a Welshman who I refer to as my muse. We have been friends for over 45 years, since I met him at a party and made him breakdance with me. We have phoned each other every day since we met and have become like each other’s diaries. Here’s to you, good friend!
Lovers abound in my Conquest trilogy about the 12th century Welsh noblewoman Nest ferch Rhys who has been called the Helen of Wales. She was the mistress of King Henry I, then married to the Norman steward of Pembroke Castle, then kidnapped by a Welsh prince, widowed, married to the Norman constable of Cardigan Castle, widowed, and, finally, the wife of the Flemish sheriff of Pembroke. In the novels, I aimed to imagine Nest’s resilience living through such a turbulent life. New editions of the novels are published over the next few months, starting with Daughter of the Last King, coming out in hardback, paperback and ebook on 1 March and available to preorder now.
To celebrate my publishing imprint, Meanda Books, I am currently running a free book offer (while stocks last). Grab a book and snuggle up in the warm with someone you love.
Saint Dwynwen’s Church, Llanddwyn
Saint Dwynwen’s Church by Noel.morgan2000, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2173136
Large Image: Welsh Love Spoon