Master of romantic fiction Catherine Cookson is world renowned for her enthralling tales of love that triumphs over impossible odds. In Kate Hannigan, her very first novel, Catherine Cookson introduces us to the enduring story of her most charismatic heroine.
The moment he lays eyes on Kate, Dr. Rodney Prince is enchanted. He senses in this poverty-stricken patient an intelligence and warmth that's completely unexpected. His own wife, living in the oblivion of velvet cushions and lavish dinner parties, seems crude by comparison. Though they meet only briefly then retreat to their separate worlds, the image of Kate leaves an indelible mark upon his mind.
Rodney knows that Kate's spirit has survived life-long suffering at the hands of men. Her father, an embittered dock worker, directed his violent rages toward Kate and her mother. At age eighteen Kate fell victim to a smooth-talking seducer and became the unwed mother of a child she later compromised her dignity to support. Such circumstances only deepen Rodney's desire to rescue Kate and overturn the codes of a society that serve to keep them apart. As the kindhearted Dr. Prince unintentionally wins over the heart of Kate's fatherless daughter, he and Kate begin to acknowledge that the gap between rich and poor might not be so great after all.
Available now in the United States, Kate Hannigan remains a timeless tribute to romantic love. England's late, great Catherine Cookson has spun the unforgettable tale of a wealthy man caught in a loveless marriage, a young woman trapped in the slums, and their defiance of the mores of Edwardian society.
In her first historical romance, finally available stateside in hardcover, the late British novelist Cookson (The Fifteen Streets, etc.) shows her chops and introduces her beloved heroine Kate Hannigan. Intelligent, beautiful and out of place in the squalor of her humble home in the "fifteen streets" slum, Kate first captivates the blue-blooded Dr. Rodney Prince when he delivers her illegitimate daughter, Annie, one oppressively cold Christmas eve. His fellow physician, Dr. Davidson, finds Kate a plum "situation" with some kindly Protestants, the Tolmaches, who educate the girl far above her station, feeding her desperately thirsty mind as she struggles to raise Annie on her own. Kate and Dr. Prince are periodically reunited over the next few years as Annie grows into a sensitive young girl and Kate herself blossoms into a thoughtful, dignified woman. Dr. Prince's obvious affection for Kate fuels gossip among the denizens of the 15 streets, who suspect he's Annie's father. Gradually breaking down class barriers, Dr. Prince slowly surrenders to his love for Kate and her adorable daughter. His own cold and calculating wife, Stella, strings him along with affected gentleness and cheer, only to reject real intimacy and the possibility of children. Stella's conniving, a hysterical patient's mad whims and the doctor's near death in the Great War threaten to thwart Kate's happiness, but love prevails in the end. The cozily familiar plot holds few surprises, but Cookson's trademark northern English color and lovable characters will win over first-time readers and delight old fans whose paperback editions have grown tattered.