Cover image for Kate Hannigan : a novel
Kate Hannigan : a novel
Cookson, Catherine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2004]

Physical Description:
305 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Great Britain : Macdonald & Co., 1950.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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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.

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 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A hardcover edition of beloved British author Cookson's first finally makes it to these shores. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 The Birth
2 The Kitchen
3 The Drawing-Room
4 The Ride
5 Annie
6 The Path Is Mapped Out
7 The Belt
8 France
9 The Fieldcard
10 Always Flight
11 Waiting
12 The Return