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The Parson's Daughter Hardcover – May, 1987

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Summit Books; 1st edition (May 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671632930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773721289
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran storyteller Cookson (The Bannaman Legacy, The Moth once again captures the stratified society of Northumberland in the late 19th century. When the local pastor's daughter, tomboyish Nancy Ann Howard, attracts the master of the manor, Dennison Harpcore, their unlikely, cross-class marriage sets off a chain of events that irrevocably changes the lives and social position of many in the community. Harpcore, notorious for wenching and gambling, is for a time transformed by the virginal object of his desire. Nancy Ann, for her part, once the novelty of wealth loses its charm, matures through personal adversity, loss of innocence and Harpcore's suicide. Nancy Ann's fate is tied to those of three men, the last of whom will bring her what she finally recognizes as happiness. The Cookson way with a long, intricately woven narrative compensates for sketchiness of characterization, particularly of the male characters. As usual, readers will be absorbed by her evocation of the social landscape of late 19th century England. Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Roaming the countryside with her dog and fighting with the McLoughlin boys is not proper behavior for a Victorian country parson's daughter. Though Nancy Ann's free and passionate spirit is a frequent source of distress to her parents, it attracts Dennison Harpcore, wealthy bon vivant master of Rossburn House; quiet and kindly Graham, lord of the manor; and intense, brilliant David, bastard nephew to Dennison. It is Harpcore who courts and marries her despite the difference in age and station. Again her independence brings conflict, loyal friends, and bitter enemies as she battles to win a place in society and a position in her own household. Hasty final chapters do not fulfill the promise of the more thoroughly developed beginning ones, but this is still a book and a heroine that will charm many. Literary Guild alternate; Doubleday Book Club main selection. Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Her books are very well written and it's easy to become involved with the characters.
Patricia Davis
All the characters are portrayed well and it's an absorbing story of love and human nature, good and bad.
Lady Nina
I find myself thinking about what just happened in the story hours after I had finished reading.
Ethel Harrison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "kristina_118" on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thi book is absoutely gripping. Once you start to warm toward it you don't want to put it down.
Nancy Ann Hazel, the 'heroine' in this novel is a tomboy. Due to her elder brothers' training she does most of the things boys do in that time like fencing and a bit of wrestling. When she turns thirteen, her parents decide to send her to dame school to learn the ways of a young lady. After two or three years there, her mother becomes gravely ill and she returns home to stay with her mum until her death or recovery. During this period, the man from The House, a rich, notorious womanizer and gambler pays calls and helps the family to get through their difficult time by providing food and a doctor to attend to the mother. His intentions are to act as a suitor to this wonderful young girl, athough he is old enough to be her father. The only one oblivious to his motives is Nancy Ann herself. The mother wants to see her lovable tomboy settle down before she dies and suggests that she allow the man from The House to court her because he would be ale to provide for her without much effort. This is the exact opposite idea of the Parson, Nancy's father, because the man from The House is known to have many mistresses and he is a man of the world. He pleads with his wife to change her mind but her opinion can't be changed. Nancy Ann marries the man against her father's wishes to please her mother. After this she goes through trials where she shows incredible strength of character and mind and is able to come out on top, finally happy, with the love she was avoiding.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of comedy wrapped up in the joy and sorrows of life in the 19th century. This is the first novel by Catherine Cookson that I have read and it has encouraged me to purchase more of her writings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Duval on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am using my husband's account..he wouldn't be reading a romance. LOL! Anyways, I just finished this book this morning, and as I commented above, it is very, very well written. The plotline is interesting, the characters, for the most part, believable, as is the dialogue.

The only problem I have with the book is with the character of Nancy Ann herself. It became very annoying, watching her escape a rotten husband, marry a nice, caring man who, it was stated over and over throughout the story, she couldn't stop thinking about and even loving during her first marriage. When she is finally married to her second husband, suddenly he is not good enough. I was going, "HUH???" Fortunately for her, her unwanted husbands seemed to "loose this mortal coil" rather conveniently, leaving her a young, comfortably-situated, beautiful, skinny widow. ahem... .

So she ends up with the younger man whom, it appears, for some unknown reason, was the one she had desired all along. I couldn't quite understand where this all-consuming love for him had come from, esp. since they had had about two whole conversations in their entire lives, but it appears he resembled Fabio by the end of the book, and was a pretty good kisser to boot. (I suppose I just answered myself! :) By the last few sentences, though, I was just thankful there wasn't another chapter beginning, "Nancy Ann had been married to David for two years, when she suddenly realized she had been thinking of Shane quite often... ."

Other than that (ha!) it was a pretty good book, albeit, as others have stated, rather depressing at some points. I am just beginning a second of Ms. Cookson's novels, so I suppose that shows I enjoyed TPD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AC on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Loved it! Unpredictable, enough highs and lows and of course a thoroughly nice ending. I love Cookson's books because she tries to encompass all that life offers -pain, tragedy, triumphs, challenges in short REALISM! No sentimental claptrap from her like some American female writers. Loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cookston tells her sad story about a young girl who follows her mother's wishes and goes against her father's, to have what she believes is true love. The readers follow Nancy Ann from husband to husband as she searches for true love, which she finds in the end. I thought this novel was wonderful! I felt the pain that Nancy Ann felt with her first husband who mistreated her and I felt her happiness when she found at last her true love. I recommend this novel to anyone who will suffer along with the characters in the novel because they love a happy endings.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Troukhan on December 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Okay, to be honest this book was good when it comes to writing. However, its dull tone and constantly depressing situations made me depressed while reading, skimming through the pages.

I was expecting some kind of a happy turn, some kind of a sign of that "happy love" like in Kate Hannigan, however, I was disappointed to witness and FEEL one death after the other, it felt like I was reading a grave, it was too much sadness, too much emotion too much everything! And I did not get any happiness in return either, no treat for the reader:(

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good writing style read; however once again, this is not the best plot story for it contains too much drama and too much pain in my opinion.

Catherine Cookson did an amazing job delivering the feeling and the vibe of the book, yet I think it was too much. Too depressing and not enough light and once again the religious reference and the illegitimate child is like part of her writing style, I only read her 2 books, Kate Hannigan (illegitimate child who faces religious questions) and Kate Hannigan's girl (also illegitimate child who wants to become a nun). It gets very very annoying after a while.
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More 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. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school master.

Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer - her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling 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 was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1997.

For many years she lived near Newcastle upon Tyne. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998.

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