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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The novels of Catherine Cookson

Being more than half a century old, I grew up reading voraciously - in a time when libraries were still 'hot'.

After having read all the novel fit for youngsters (Dickens, Stevenson, e.a.) I went through Agatha Christie and afterwards discovered Konsalik (a German author) and Catherine Cookson.

The latter author writes novels situated in the north of England (Shields, Newcastle) around the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.

All of her novels are tales of young women who have to struggle through life (I bet this is where Barabara Taylor Bradford got her inspiration as well) - and make it. Strong women, with a mind of their own and thus after my own liking.

But now, so many years later, I still read those novels. I find they are a kind of testimony of times past. They give a very good impression of how life was in those days. My own mother and grandmother never talked a lot about the past, and of course they haven't had such hard times as the heroines in Cookson's stories, but nevertheless....

So many things have changed since I was a little kid myself. When I am now standing in a class, I can give a history lesson about all the changes I've seen coming by. In my younger days, people did not have a bathroom inside the house - or even a toilet. They did not have a telephone. As a teenager, I thought we were very modern because our outhouse had linoleum and light (which my dad installed)! We washed in the kitchen, in a big iron tub - and we were ever so lucky to get hot water for each person individually! (Lots of kids in my class had to bathe in one tub for all kids). But then we were somewhat better off than most. My grandparents had more than enough money and we always ate very well.

But in England the situation was more dire than here in Flanders. Lots of people working in the coal mines got unemployed and this caused a lot of misery.

Some time ago I've finished reading The Dwelling Place.  A novel about a group of children who are bereaved of their parents and don't want to be seperated. So they move into the mountains, where they find an empty cave and turn it into a dwellling.

And now I'm reading Pure as the Lily, which deals with the Depression.

Any others who have read Cookson?

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