A Ruthless Need by Catherine Cookson
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Synopsis

Even in the heat of battle, Geoff Fulton, a professional soldier, would always carry with him the memory of the night he was on leave, when his timely intervention rescued fourteen-year-old Lizzie from the oldest of perils for a young girl, and thereby began to change her life. Lizzie came from a desperately poor home, ruled by a vicious stepmother only too ready to profit from setting the girl along the same sordid road as her elder sister had been made to take.

The year was 1937 and the place a rural enclave of County Durham, where Geoff had been born and raised in the old farmhouse that remained the home of his parents, even though most of its land had been sold off to neighbouring Low Tarn Hall. There his father still worked as estate manager for the demanding Ernest Bradford-Brown, self-made owner of the Hall and many other properties. Anxious about his increasingly handicapped mother and seeing in Lizzie a girl of spirit, Geoff concluded that she might, with care and training, solve his problem and benefit herself. So, after a quick visit to confront the protesting Mrs Gillespie, he was soon back home with his willing protégée.

Then, in 1943, when Geoff returned wounded from the desert war, it was to find a Lizzie he hardly recognized – she was mature and highly attractive. For her part, she soon came to realise that he too had changed. Embittered by his experiences at war and rejected by Ernest Bradford-Brown’s daughter Janis after a lengthy relationship long opposed by her irascible father, he now appeared to Lizzie to have a ruthless streak that was at considerable odds with the caring man who had, all those years ago, rescued her from poverty and deprivation.

Catherine Cookson’s powerful novel is the story of a girl who took the chance of a new life and seized the opportunities to make something of herself.
 

About Catherine Cookson

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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.
 
Published March 24, 2011 by Peach Publishing. 320 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Geoff, whose father manages a country estate belonging to the Bradford-Brown family in County Durham, arranges for Lizzie to work in the Fulton household, where his mother takes her into the family, teaching her skills and helping her to get an education.

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