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Kate Hannigan's Girl is the sequel to Kate Hannigan, Catherine Cookson's first published novel. It is the 1920's and Kate is happily married to Dr. Rodney Prince - but spiteful rumours about Kate's past seem to dog her and her illegitimate daughter Annie's steps.
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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. Agent, Sheila Land Associates.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Booklist:
Although Dame Catherine passed away in 1998, her posthumously published novels continue to entrance lovers of classic romance. Set in turn-of-the-century small-town England, this tale brings back Kate Hannigan, a strong-willed, formerly impoverished woman who shunned the Catholic Church, but the focus is on Annie, Kate's out-of-wedlock daughter, who has spent her life struggling with the cruel stigma of illegitimacy. She and her archenemy, Cathleen, represent traditional but not quite trite feminine roles. Annie is fair, naive, and virginal. Cathleen is dark-haired, cruel, and promiscuous and proves to be a formidable enemy, not just to Annie but to everyone Annie loves. Among her vicious misdeeds: sleeping with a beloved servant and then getting him fired, causing her brother to attempt suicide, leading her mother to a nervous collapse, and seducing the only man Annie will ever love, neighbor Terence Macbane. Annie wavers between entrusting her heart to Terence or serving God as a nun. Will Annie sacrifice earthly love, or will she find her way to forgiveness and her true calling as wife and mother? Cookson has crafted another evocative and alluring story animated by well-developed characters in this quintessential historical romance. Deborah Rysso
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