Kate Hannigan

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Overview

Dr Rodney Prince's desire for a family had been frozen out by a wife who had wanted Harley Street, not a Tyneside slum. By contrast, Kate Hannigan glowed with a warmth that was out of place in the grime and squalor of the Fifteen Streets. And so, between Rodney Prince, a wealthy man locked in an unhappy marriage, and Kate Hannigan, a bastard child of the slums, grew a love that opposed all the concepts of an Edwardian society.

About the Author: Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne...

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Kate Hannigan: A Novel

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Overview

Dr Rodney Prince's desire for a family had been frozen out by a wife who had wanted Harley Street, not a Tyneside slum. By contrast, Kate Hannigan glowed with a warmth that was out of place in the grime and squalor of the Fifteen Streets. And so, between Rodney Prince, a wealthy man locked in an unhappy marriage, and Kate Hannigan, a bastard child of the slums, grew a love that opposed all the concepts of an Edwardian society.

About the Author: Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. At the age of forty she began writing about the lives of the working-class people with whom she had grown up, using the place of her birth as the background to many of her novels. Her many bestselling novels established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday in June 1998.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Cookson's unflinching depiction of poverty secured her reputation in Great Britain, and in Kate Hannigan she taps the redemptive qualities of the romance form to give shape and substance to her heroine's story. This reprint of a book first published in 1950 gives a new generation of readers an opportunity to discover this remarkable writer. — Pamela Regis
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A hardcover edition of beloved British author Cookson's first finally makes it to these shores. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First US hardcover publication of the late Dame Cookson's first novel. The notorious slums of Tyneside in the early 1900s are not easy to escape, but young Kate Hannigan dreams of doing just that. Her gentle beauty and her spirit are much admired by the son of the upper-class family for whom she works, but a brief and ill-fated dalliance results in a pregnancy of which he knows nothing. Nine months later, Kate tries desperately to give birth, attended by drunken midwife Dorrie. As the story opens, the midwife is ordered away by Rodney Prince, an idealistic doctor who struggles to save Kate and her unborn child (this strong and beautifully written scene was considered scandalously graphic in 1950, when the book was first published). Thereafter, Dr. Prince takes a gossip-friendly interest in little Annie and her mother Kate, who then goes into service for a kindly family. The Tolemaches, an elderly sister and two brothers, are unexpectedly generous to both baby and mother (whose fine new clothes cause still more malicious gossip), and, more importantly, they provide an education for Kate. Her weak-willed mother Sarah is secretly proud, but Tim Hannigan, Sarah's brutish husband, is not. He's convinced that Kate is not his, and indeed his wife has never come clean with the truth. Dr. Prince, a passionate man enmeshed in a battle of wills with Stella, his icy, controlling wife, inevitably falls in love with Kate, but his noble nature keeps him from revealing his true feelings. Yet Stella, a would-be poet who lords over her own literary soirees, will not give him a divorce. Kate soldiers on as the years go by, driven almost mad by poverty and Tim Hannigan's vicious beatings. As WWI looms overEurope, Dr. Prince vows his love-and when he returns, badly wounded, their hidden love blossoms at last. Employing the melodramatic cliches we've come to expect after 90 bestsellers, Cookson (1907-98) was a natural successor to the great English writers of the Romantic era. Vivid, emotionally stirring: one of her best.
From the Publisher
The Philadelphia Inquirer Whenever the desire for entertaining fiction must be quenched, a Catherine Cookson novel...should prove an excellent resource.

Helen Dunmore The Times (London) Catherine Cookson's novels are about hardship, the intractability of life and of individuals, the struggle first to survive and next to make sense of one's survival. Humour, toughness, resolution, and generosity are Cookson virtues, in a world which she often depicts as cold and violent. Her novels are weighted and driven by her own early experiences of illegitimacy and poverty. This is what gives them power. In the specialised world of women's popular fiction, Cookson has created her own territory.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743237734
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 12/3/2003
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.27 (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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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    Great storytelling

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Fifteen Streets are filled with the hopeless poor with no expectations to escape the foulness of these slums. In this enervating world, an energetic innocent like Kate Hannigan has no chance for survival. To escape her abusive father, teenage Kate listened to the sweet con of John Herrington. When she becomes pregnant he drops her as yesterday¿s trash.<P> Feeling a need to help the impoverished, wealthy Dr. Rodney Prince provides medical care to the residents of the Fifteen Streets. He helps Kate give birth and though she insists she prefers to die, he senses an inner strength and intelligence that makes her superior to her neighbors. As Rodney further compares lower class Kate to his blue-blooded hedonistic wife, Stella, he finds his upper crust sophisticated spouse lacking. Rodney wants to assist Kate and her out of wedlock daughter escape from the Fifteen Streets, but soon needs the two females as much as they need him as love blossoms between them.<P> Though in some ways this novel feels antiquated as society has become more accepting of single mothers and intolerant towards irresponsible fathers, fans of the late great Catherine Cookson will enjoy this reprint. The story line provides a comparative look at the extremes of Edwardian England through the eyes of Rodney who has feet in both societies. Kate and Rodney are delightful protagonists, but Stella is so shallow she makes Hal seem like Mother Teresa. Still few authors can describe poverty any better than Ms. Cookson has and those of her fans who have not already will seek Annie¿s story told in KATE HANNIGAN¿S GIRL.<P> Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2013

    Her first novel and a wonderful love story

    Her first novel and a wonderful love story

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorite books of all time

    I have read many books by Catherine Cookson and this is definitely one of her very best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

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