Allen Raine was one of the most popular authors of the turn of the century, with her books selling over a million copies in Britain alone. Queen of the Rushes, first published in 1906, and then by Honno in 1998, has been out of print, but now Allen Raine’s powerful and accomplished novel can be enjoyed again.
Set in a seaside village in West Wales at the time of the 1904 Revival, the novel relates the enthralling tale of the lives and complex loves of Gildas, Nancy, Gwenifer and Captain Jack. Eminently readable, and with touches of humour, this is nevertheless a serious attempt — one of the first in English — to map out a distinctively Welsh literary landscape.
Katie Gramich’s fascinating introduction situates Allen Raine’s last novel against its literary background and points to its significance in the Anglo-Welsh tradition and in Welsh Women’s writing.