The Glass Virgin

( 14 )

Overview

Annabella Lagrange was the only child of a wealthy family, owners of a glass-works in the North-East of England. When Annabella was seven, she thought the world a delightful place to live in, and only occasionally wondered why her parents never took her beyond the gates of their magnificent country estate. When she was ten she decided that the seclusion didn't really matter because when she grew up she would marry her handsome cousin Stephen ...
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The Glass Virgin: A Novel

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Overview

Annabella Lagrange was the only child of a wealthy family, owners of a glass-works in the North-East of England. When Annabella was seven, she thought the world a delightful place to live in, and only occasionally wondered why her parents never took her beyond the gates of their magnificent country estate. When she was ten she decided that the seclusion didn't really matter because when she grew up she would marry her handsome cousin Stephen and never be lonely again.

But when she was eighteen, Annabella learned the circumstances of her birth—and her entire world crashed around her...
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Philadelphia Inquirer Whenever the desire for entertaining fiction must be quenched, a Catherine Cookson novel...should prove an excellent resource.
Publishers Weekly
What differentiates a true lady from a common woman? Is it blood, environment, education or simply hauteur? The late, prolific Cookson deftly explores these questions in this dizzying upstairs-downstairs "romance of adversity" set in rural Edwardian England. Annabella Lagrange is a lovely 17-year-old lady-to-be... or not to be, whose aristocratic childhood comes to a crashing halt when her womanizing papa, who has just bankrupted his wife Rosina's glass factory, reveals that Annabella is actually the daughter of a local whorehouse madam. Manuel Mendoza, a predictably dark and handsome self-made workman, helps Annabella begin a new, humble life as a farmhouse maid with an invented past. Cookson liberally heaps mental anguish and cruel twists of fate upon her heroine as Annabella tentatively navigates "life as lived by the majority of people." Over the course of a trying year, Annabella keeps her ladylike dignity-and virginity-as she entangles herself in the bonds of love. Is it truly possible for "the upper class to come down and the working class to come up and meet in the middle" in the realms of love and business? Despite some heavy-handed foreshadowing and spell-breaking asides about the social limitations of the Edwardian era, Cookson proves herself a seasoned storyteller, whose plentiful list of titles keeps historical women's fiction fans in the hardcover aisle years after the author's death. Agent, Sonia Land. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A sheltered life is shattered. Seven-year-old Annabella Lagrange overhears enough of the servants' whispered conversation to know that her parents are unhappily married. Her own life is tranquil enough, limited by strict supervision and inflexible routines, and she knows nothing of the world outside the iron gates of Redford Hall-until the starving children of striking mineworkers raid the estate garden. Her horrified nursemaid, a smug girl who has never known hunger or want, drags her charge away, saying only that the children are shiftless. It's then that Annabella begins to understand what hypocrisy is. Redford Hall runs on it: her father, Edmund, is a handsome libertine, financially dependent on his pious wife who must beg her rich relations for money to keep up appearances. Edmund lives apart from his wife and only child in a nearby house in order to indulge his carnal appetites. When Annabella wanders over there, she's a hidden witness to a debauched scene of seduction. Who is the naked lady and why is Papa feeding her strawberries? The little girl vomits and faints. When she recovers, Edmund explains that it is all a bad dream. But his wife, Rosina, can't be so easily put off, and her simmering resentment explodes some years later. It seems that she was forced to adopt Annabella, the daughter of another of Edmund's mistresses, tolerating the child more from Christian forbearance than love. Stay tuned, though, for even more shocking revelations: Vintage Cookson, in fine form. Agent: Sonia Land
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416577263
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/14/2007
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,422,061
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Cookson lived in Northumberland, England, the setting of many of her international bestsellers. Born in Tyne Dock, she was the illegitimate daughter of an impoverished woman, Kate, whom she was raised to believe was her older sister. She began to work in the civil service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married a local grammar school master.
Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer, in 1968 her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award, her readership quickly spread worldwide, and her many bestselling novels established her as one of the most popular contemporary authors. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998, having completed 104 works.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2002

    A top book on my list !

    This is the first time I read any book from Catherine Cookson, and after this one I want to read more of her books. I recently read the Gift from Danielle Steel, which I really liked. but I love The Glass Virgin the most. You always see stories like these in movies, but it's so much more exciting to read them first and then watch them. Cookson has a very unique way of writing , and every little thing she described in the book I was able to imagine it and picture it in my head, and I enjoy when I am able to do that with a book. Iam recently 18, and not many people, like me, enjoy reading books. I have read at least 20 books from different authors like Danielle Steel, Gary Paulsen, Judy Blume and others. Out of all of these I can assure I would love to read this book over again. It was excellent and I loved it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    FANTASTIC!!!! OH MANUEL, MANUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wonderful story. A true page turner and the plot has many twists and turns, it keeps you guessing till the very last line. Oh and Manuel, what an interesting character :-)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    I couldn't put it down

    This was a great book with a good story line and characters that you love. I would strongly recommend this book to people who love history, intrigue, and romance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2013

    this was one of the first Cookson books I read 40 or so years a

    this was one of the first Cookson books I read 40 or so years ago as a teenager and is still one of my favorites. The story of how Annabella leaves her home to join Manual on the road is so realistic one can almost feel the grime. I especially love the part where she and Manual are hired by the Fairbairns and what happens to them both at that farm. Manual is a true romantic hero in the old sense of the word--compassionate, kind, protective--and yet is far from a saint--witness his visits to Crane Street and his periodic drunkenness. But I loved him when I was 16 and still do

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2005

    Strangely weird but good

    Yes, this book was strangely weird but it was such a great read. There's parts in there that'll have you stunned and even surprised. If you like a little romance, there's that.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Catherine Cookson at her best

    Annabella Lagrange has grown up as an overly protected aristocrat. She was never allowed to go outside the gates of her home Redford Hall though once she saw rioting children assault the grounds. She learned when she was younger that her parents were estranged as her father was a womanizer who lived in a different house. Her mother was a pious individual who showered religion on Annabella as if she must save her daughter¿s soul from the devil or her philandering husband, but never displayed one iota of affection or love towards her child........... Now seventeen, Annabella¿s gilded cage collapses when her father finally bankrupts her mother¿s Rosina's glass factory. Her personal life implodes too as Annabella finds out that Rosina is not her mother; that her biological mom is a local madam that her father impregnated. Annabella begins her new life far from wealth as a farmhouse maid with only handsome Manuel Mendoza willing to help her adjust............... This Edwardian tale is vintage Catherine Cookson at her best as the deceased author places her heroine in an extreme makeover in which the probability is that she will not survive. The bottom seems endless as one nasty revelation after another sends a formerly pampered Annabella into the working world. As she slowly adapts she falls in love, but her social upbringing remains part of her personal frame of reference so can she truly find happiness with a working class stiff? Though some readers will detest the myriad of sidebars that describe social conditions in Edwardian England, Ms. Cookson continues to be the best chef for cross-class historical tales of that era even several years after her death..................... Harriet Klausner

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    Posted February 1, 2012

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