Catherine Cookson was one of the world's most beloved writers. Her books have sold millions of copies, and her characters and their stories have captured the imagination of readers around the globe. She passed away in 1998, but luckily for her fans, Cookson left behind several unpublished works, including the magnificent Kate Hannigan's Girl -- her 100th book, the powerful companion to her first novel, Kate Hannigan.
Set in the English countryside in the early twentieth century, Kate Hannigan's Girl is the story of Kate's eldest daughter, the lovely, free-spirited Annie Hannigan. Blessed with silver-blond braids and a lighthearted disposition, Annie enjoys a life her mother never had. She is surrounded by material comforts and a loving family, protected from the poverty and shame her mother endured in the slums. But as Cookson fans have come to expect, no good life can go unmarred by heartache.
Annie grows into a beautiful young woman, and soon she draws the interest of both friends and neighbors. She falls in love with Terence Macbane, the elusive boy next door. But there are those who would keep them apart: Her childhood friend Brian Stannard is determined to have her for himself, and her more worldly rival, Cathleen Davidson, harbors a bitter jealousy that will prove dangerous to all. Tormented by unrequited love, the revelation of her own illegitimacy, and the demands of her deep-seated faith, Annie discovers that sometimes love is not enough -- she must fight for what she wants.
Kate Hannigan's Girl is vintage Cookson. With its larger themes of early twentieth-century romantic love and class conflict, this novel showcases Catherine Cookson at the height of her storytelling powers, and it is sure to satisfy devoted readers everywhere.
Cookson's 100th book, posthumously published, rounds off her oeuvre, but is more memorable for its landmark status than its content. Set in England's Northumberland countryside in the early 20th century, it takes up the story line from a previous book featuring Kate Hannigan and Kate's illegitimate daughter, Annie. Though Kate is now married to the wealthy and kind Dr. Rodney Prince, neither Kate nor Annie has forgotten their humble origins. Teenage Annie, in particular, is stung by accusations that her mother wasn't married when Annie was born. Then Terence Macbane, a slightly older local boy, returns home from Oxford. Ashamed of his own wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing, he finds himself strongly attracted to Annie despite her dubious past. But interference in the form of racy and determined Cathleen, Annie's perpetual rival, threatens to tear them apart. Will Annie be able to find the strength to overcome Cathleen? As a heroine, Annie's a bit too tearily immature, her musings more pathetic than sympathetic. Much more fun is bad-girl Cathleen, whose role as spoiler adds some spice to the treacle. Musings on Catholicism as solace embellish the tale, and lashings of melodrama heighten the suspense, although it tends to be of the "all's well that ends well" variety. Cookson wrote better, and more satisfying, novels. It would be a shame if she were remembered for such piffle.