A Ruthless Need
Even in the heat of battle, Geoff Fulton, a professional soldier, would always carry with him the memory of the night he was on leave, when his timely intervention rescued fourteen-year-old Lizzie from the oldest of perils for a young girl, and thereby began to change her life. Lizzie came from a desperately poor home, ruled by a slatternly stepmother only too ready to profit from setting the girl along the same sordid road as her elder sister had been made to take.
The year was 1937 and the place a rural enclave of County Durham, where Geoff had been born and raised in the old farmhouse that remained the home of his parents, even though most of its land had been sold off to neighbouring Low Tarn Hall. There his father still worked as estate manager for the demanding Ernest Bradford-Brown, self-made owner of this and many another property. Anxious about his increasingly handicapped mother and seeing in Lizzie a girl of spirit, Geoff concluded that she might, with care and training, solve his problem and benefit herself. So, after a quick visit to outface the protesting Mrs Gillespie, he was soon back home with his willing protege.
Then, in 1943, when Geoff returned wounded from the desert war, it was to find a Lizzie he hardly recognised - mature and highly attractive. For her part, she soon came to realise that he too had changed. Embittered by his experiences at war and rejected by Ernest Bradford-Brown's daughter Janis after a lengthy relationship long opposed by her irascible father, to Lizzie he now showed a ruthless streak that was at considerable odds with the caring man who had, all those years ago, rescued her from poverty and deprivation.
The Lady On My Left
Alison Read, orphaned when she was two years old, had for some years lived and worked with Paul Aylmer, her appointed guardian. Paul, an experienced antique dealer whose business thrived in the south-coast town of Sealock, had come to rely on Alison, who had quickly learned the trade.
But when he had asked her to value the contents of Beacon Ride, a chain of events was set off that led to the exposure of a secret he had for years managed to conceal. As a result, Alison's relationship with Paul came under threat and she knew that only by confronting the situation head-on would her ambitions be realised.
Part-mystery, part-love story, and with its fascinating glimpses of the world of antiques in the 1960s, The Lady on my Left displays yet another facet of Catherine Cookson's remarkable talent
Even in the worst days of the recession, the McQueen family remain upbeat. They watch as their neighbours depart for the workhouse, their last pieces of furniture carted off by the bailiffs. But even though there might not be much on the table, the McQueen house constantly echoes with laughter. This is what keeps them strong - when all else fails, you can always laugh.
Like many of the residents of the Fifteen Streets, the McQueens are as blunt as they are big-hearted. They are opinionated, and speak with no holds barred if anyone dare go against social convention. So imagine their shock when Bridget McQueen brings home her African husband...
Colour Blind is an absorbing story of prejudice, racial tension and family feuding in the 1920s, from one of Britain's most skilled storytellers.
Suddenly risen to power and influence, Samuel Fairbrother, manufacturer and retailer of boots, shoes and clogs, decided that his new station in life deserved a more imposing residence. Accordingly he bought himself a thirty-four-roomed mansion situated on the outskirts of Fellburn. With the house came the butler, Maitland, who at once made plain his belief that Samuel, far from the gentleman his predecessor had been, was no more than an upstart.
So began a clash of wills between master and man, at which Samuel Fairbrother discovered he was at a distinct disadvantage, for Maitland was well skilled in the art of maintaining his indispensability. Fairbrother, for his part, was only too aware that he dare not dispense with Maitland's services. And so an uneasy truce was declared between them.
As the years went by and the century turned, Samuel Fairbrother saw his children, one by one, leave the big house to make lives of their own - all except his eldest daughter Janet who, by means of a legacy, was enabled to shape the destiny of her father's scattered family and effect the reconciliation that he thought was impossible.
The Thursday Friend
Hannah and Humphrey Drayton were regarded by all who knew them as the perfect married couple. However, Hannah soon came to realise that this stuffy, City broker was stifling her with his insistence that she should always comply with his wishes. The only relief she had from his tyranny was his absence on Thursday evenings, when he played bridge with a group of acquaintances, and at weekends, which he spent with an elderly couple who regarded him as the son they had never had.
Hannah, in despair and in the face of her husband's ridicule, took refuge in her writing, and it was the completion of a book for children and an advertisement in the local newspaper that took her to the office of a publisher, a visit that was to change her life. There she was to meet David Graventon, an assistant to the publisher, and a man she was soon to think of as her Thursday friend. Taking advantage of Humphrey's absences, she and David would meet and talk, visit the theatre and the cinema - activities she had never enjoyed with her husband. He, of course, knew nothing of Hannah's 'other life', being preoccupied with protecting what he imagined were his future interests. But Humphrey had his own secrets; and when events occurred that he could not control, the outcome for his ambitions was entirely unexpected.
As for Hannah, her Thursday friend was to become the saviour of her very existence - but would he manage to resolve his own not inconsiderable personal difficulties and offer Hannah the happiness she craved?
With its deceptively simple theme, The Thursday Friend is a remarkable novel that displays Catherine Cookson's consummate ability to explore human relationships. It will enjoy immense popularity among her many readers throughout the world.
The Bonny Dawn
For seventeen-year-old Brid Stevens, the day began with such promise. At four o'clock on a summer morning, her alarm clock roused her from a dream-filled sleep, for she had an appointment to keep with Joe Lloyd, whom she had met at the weekly dance, on the cliff-top at Stockwell Hill overlooking the sea. Joe was not the usual sort to frequent the dance-hall, she thought, and he had made the prospect of their watching the sun come up more exciting than anything she could previously recall. And so it proved to be. But upon her return home, where she lived with her parents and her brother, all hell was let loose. Harry Palmer was also there, fresh from telling his tale of the lovers' tryst he said he had witnessed. Brid and Joe, he claimed, had spent the night together, there on the cliff-top.
In the afternoon, by previous arrangement, she made her way to the beach, from where she and Joe were to go swimming, but her arrival was to be in the aftermath of violence, for Joe, she discovered, had also suffered, this time at the hands of those who envied him. What was to occur after that would bring the day to a horrifying end, as family and friends of all concerned displayed their prejudices and made their own judgements.
The events of this powerful novel, set on the Northumbrian coast in the 1960s, take place over one day, a day during which everyone involved discovers that the consequences of an innocent meeting between two young people are far more significant than the event itself. The Bonny Dawn is a remarkable tour-de-force by Britain's most popular novelist.
The Solace Of Sin
From the first moment she saw the house on the moors north of Hexham, Conie Stapleton knew she could live there, despite its isolation, despite its lack of basic facilities, and despite her fear of loneliness. Her marriage, on the brink of disintegration, she had already decided to sell the large flat she and her husband Jim shared and she saw the move as a means of initiating the separation she knew was necessary; and now that their son Peter would soon be off to university, there was, she decided, no reason to delay the inevitable. Even if the winters at Shekinah, as the house was called, were as severe as her family had warned, she told herself she could always buy a flat in nearby Hexham. To buy the house, Connie was told that she must negotiate with the nearby Connors, one of whom, Vincent appeared to be their spokesman. However, she was somewhat surprised by his abruptness and by his insistence that the deal be closed forthwith; and further taken aback when he asked her if she would be able to sign the papers on the following day. Afterwards, when the house was hers and she had moved in, Connie was to discover that mystery was a way of life with Vincent Connor. Despite this, however, he was to have an increasing influence on her life as she settled into the new routine of days and nights at Shekinah. But then, as a result of circumstances over which she had no control, the shocking truth about the man with whom she had shared a life for many years came to light...
Set in the 1970s, The Solace of Sin is the story of a strong and independent woman whose life is transformed by new surroundings and new acquaintances. It is a richly satisfying novel, as powerful as any that Britain premier author has written in her long and distinguished career.
Kate Hannigan's Girl
It is the early 1920s and Kate Hannigan is happily married to Dr Rodney Prince, who has willingly accepted her illegitimate daughter, Annie, as the eldest child of their household. Everything seems to be going well for the Prince family, but soon spiteful rumours about Kate's earlier life seem to haunt both her and Annie - an insidious threat that revives memories of the poverty and narrowness of life in the Fifteen Streets district that they have so recently left behind.
Annie will be faced with some of the problems that earlier beset her mother: religious prejudice and a choice between two different ways of life - the comfortable middle-class existence offered by Brian Stannard and the uncertain prospects of Terence McBane, a brilliant mathematician from the underprivileged world Annie and her mother have just escaped.
In the sequel to Kate Hannigan, Cookson's first published novel, Kate's daughter Annie must find the strength and maturity to overcome the troubles that threaten to engulf her
Product Related Video for Catherine Cookson 7 Books Collection Set (Ruthless Need, Lady On My Left, Colour Blind, Thursday Friend, Bonny Dawn, Solace Of Sin, Kate Hannigan's Gi
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