Cover image for A house divided
Title:
A house divided
Author:
Cookson, Catherine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2000.

©1999
Physical Description:
365 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780684871219
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

It is the end of World War II, and Matthew Wallingham is discharged from the army a decorated hero, but also a blind man. It seems the only person who can reach him is his nurse, Liz. After realizing his family is in disarray, he turns to Liz, but she has her own problems to deal with...


Author Notes

Catherine Cookson, 1906 - 1998 British writer Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, Co. Durham. She was born illegitimate and into poverty with a mother who was, at times, an alcoholic and violent. From the age of thirteen, Catherine suffered from hereditary hemorrhage telangiectasia. She also believed, for many years, that she was abandoned as a baby and that her mother was actually her older sister.

Catherine wrote her first short story, "The Wild Irish Girl," at the age of eleven and sent it to the South Shields Gazette, which sent it back in three days. She left school at the age of thirteen to work as a maid for the rich and powerful. It was then that she saw the great class barrier inside their society. From working in a laundry, she saved enough money to open an apartment hotel in Hastings. Schoolmaster, Tom Cookson, was one of her tenants and became her husband in 1940. She suffered several miscarriages and became depressed so she began writing to help her recovery.

Catherine has written over ninety novels and, under the pseudonym of Catherine Marchant, she wrote three different series of books, which included the Bill Bailey, the Mary Ann, and the Mallen series. Her first book, "Kate Hannigan" (1950), tells the partly autobiographical story of a working-class girl becoming pregnant by an upper-middle class man. The baby is raised by Kate's parents and the child believes them to be her real parents and that Kate is her sister. Many of her novels are set in 19th century England and tell of poverty in such settings as mines, shipyards and farms. Her characters usually cross the class barrier by means of education.

Catherine received the Freedom of the Borough of South Shields and the Royal Society of Literature's award for the Best Regional Novel of the year. The Variety Club of Great Britain named her Writer of the Year and she was voted Personality of the North-East. She received an honorary degree from the University of Newcastle and was made Dame in 1933.

Just shortly before her ninety-second birthday, on June 11, 1998, Catherine died in her home near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. "Kate Hannigan's Girl" (1999), was published posthumously and continues the story of her first novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Cookson, the late doyenne of romance, left behind yet another engaging page-turner, starring one Matthew Wallingham, scion of a wealthy military family who feels as though his life is over after being blinded in battle. He is brought back from the edge by Ducks, a nurse whom he believes to be a middle-aged, motherly woman but who is, in truth, the beautiful 24-year-old Liz Ducksworth, the daughter of a farmer. Released from the hospital, Matthew returns home with great plans to run the farm on the family estate, but during the war, his younger brother Rodney took control and wants to keep it. Matthew is rescued from utter despair by the news that an old comrade-in-arms, and nurse Ducksworth, have taken jobs at a nearby hospital. So he enrolls in a training program there and pursues Liz. But she has issues of her own that must be resolved. She travels home and breaks her engagement to a neighborly farmer, Mike McCabe, who proves to be thoroughly psychotic and attacks her. Upon returning to the North, Matthew, his driver Jim, and Jim's sister attempt to protect Liz, but McCabe continues his rampage. Liz moves in with the aristocratic Wallingham family, which has its fair share of secrets and conflicts, and forms warm friendships with Matthew's mother and grandmother, uncovering and soothing the emotional wounds that have defined their difficult relationship. Cookson fans will relish this posthumous romantic saga with its wonderful happily-ever-after ending. (Reviewed December 1, 1999)0684871211Diana Tixier-Herald


Publisher's Weekly Review

Cookson may have died in 1998, but readers are not yet compelled to bid her a final good-bye. If this posthumous offering, with its repetitive plotting and murky prose, is not up to the writer's usual standards, loyal fans will likely forgive its lapses. Matthew Wallingham is a WWII hero recovering from a war injury that has left him blind. While hospitalized, he falls instantly in love with his nurse, Elizabeth Jane "Ducky" Ducksworth. Despite the potential emotional pitfalls, Elizabeth eventually agrees to become Matthew's wife. First, however, she has relationships of her own to settle, while Matthew must make a life for himself at home with his family. The upper-crust Wallinghams are a formidable bunch: Matthew's spirited grandmother; his flustered but loving mother; his father, disabled with multiple sclerosis; and Rodney, his perennially underappreciated and resentful younger brother. Jim and Peter, two loyal servants, are practically part of the family. The Wallinghams are fond of frequent tea-time conversations, during which they lengthily rehash the novel's action. Subjects of discussion include Matthew's new career as a physiotherapist and Rodney's hostility. Meanwhile, Elizabeth breaks off her engagement to coarse Mike McCabe, son of a family friend. Unable to bear this loss, McCabe becomes violent, attempting first to rape Elizabeth and then to kill her. As soon as he is neatly dispatched, Rodney emerges as the new threat to the couple's happiness. Finally, though, fate conspires to provide a happy ending, and all is as it should be in Cookson's domain. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

One of the ten novels Cookson (The Desert Crop) left for posthumous publication, A House Divided relates a World War II-era romance between a wounded soldier named Matthew and his nurse, Liz. Working-class Liz escaped from her disapproving mother and an unwanted fianc to nursing school and soon began caring for the battle-battered. As she nurses Matthew back to health and teaches him to accept and live with his blindness, the two fall in love. But when lovelorn Liz tries to break up with her boyfriend, Mike, she finds only trouble. Mike attacks her, and her mother blames her for disgracing the family. Violence plays a role, but there's no overt sex in this book. Cookson's fans will not be disappointed, as she has included all the elements they expect: suspense, a historical setting, and, of course, a love that overcomes all obstacles. For all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/99.]--Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.