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The Silent Lady

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Catherine Cookson was one of the world's most beloved writers. Her books have sold millions of copies, and her characters and their stories have captured the imagination of readers around the globe. She passed away in 1998, but luckily for her fans, Cookson left behind several unpublished novels, among them the compelling Silent Lady. The story begins with a shocking revel ...more
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 28th 2001)
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The Fifteen Streets by Catherine CooksonThe Dwelling Place by Catherine CooksonFeathers In The Fire by Catherine CooksonThe Girl by Catherine CooksonTilly Trotter by Catherine Cookson
Favourite Catherine Cookson Book?
23rd out of 31 books — 9 voters
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Best Books of 2001
276th out of 309 books — 152 voters

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Community Reviews

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Julie Powell
The best thing about Catherine Cookson's books is how she brings characters alive within moments. I love the way they are 'real' - whether good or bad.

From the very start, this story had me hooked and although we don't see much from Irene's point of view, it is about her - and what a wonderful hero she is. We see her faced with an unbearable life and how she survives...I don't give spoilers. However, the rest of the characters are all influenced by her in many ways - from love to hate to sorrow
Clare Lund
Apr 06, 2008 Clare Lund rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Clare by: Joanne Balgaard
I don't usually read period books but this gave insight to London during the 50's and the story was not only plausible but kept my interest.
EASY, EASY If you’re looking for a good in-between, clean, wholesome, easy to read book…this one will do. The story centers around Irene/Reenee who goes silent (and missing from some) for 27 years. I was interested in the details and I didn’t want to put the book down so that I could unravel the mystery. All was well until the end…I struggled through the last 30 pages but I knew exactly how it would wrap up. The writing and the story bogged down with eye-rolling sappiness and all lived happily e ...more
First time I have read Catherine Cookson and I understand this was her last book. She seemed compelled to write this last novel, even though she dictated it from her bed. The setting was intriguing and I must admit I enjoyed reading "man's humanity to man" for a change even though the story was maudlin. This was a quick read that I will easily forget, yet for an evening it entertained.
A compelling story of tragedy, loss and love. Highly recommended.
Monica Horn
Not as good as other Cookson novels I've read. The first half held my interest, the second half seemed to drag. I kept wondering where the story was headed. The concluding chapters seemed rushed and littered with little sub-plots (romance between Alexander and his secretary?) that didn't have much to do with the core story but instead just seemed to prolong the ending unecessarily. It left you truly wanting to know MORE from the main character. A bit of a let-down.
Patricia Weston
wonderful book, the characters lift off the page! This was a sad, and at times drawn out story but it was very touching and beautiful also. it was very poignant as it was Catherine Cookson's last novel and the first of hers I read. I would highly recommend it.
Feb 07, 2015 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
Borrowed this as my January kindle prime book. Rather sappy sentimental drivel with an initially overwhelming busload of subsequently underdeveloped characters. There's a reason some authors don't want certain works published.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It covers many different aspects including poverty, overcoming abuse and a determination to see who you have lost. Catherine Cookson keeps the story flowing and I kept turning the pages until the end of the book
The most moving story I've read in a long time. Cookson was definitely one of the best storytellers ever.
Bonny Howe
Of all the novels Catherine cookson wrote I think this one is by far the very book Catherine
Fran Paton
excellent. not how i thought it would like typical Catherine Cookson. Stick with it. good read.
Karen C
Don't remember. Just read her books sometimes.
Marcie Desrosiers
Catherine Cookson has been a favourite author for over 40 years. I have read re-read very close to all of the books she has written and find her one of the best to capture the very flavour of English history. Although I would not consider this her best work it is certainly entertaining and worth the time. To think she wrote this from her hospital bed with rapidly declining health is remarkable.
Judy Tolley
I really loved this book. It’s about a young woman who marries a very rich man who is insanely jealous and beats her unmercifully. She gives birth to a son and life gets worse. At one point her husband goes to commit her to an asylum but she manages to escape and live on the streets until Bella finds her and gives her a home. Set in London in the 1920s this was a really unique story. Easy to read and heartwarming.
I realized early on that I had read this book before, but re-read it anyway. Good story about a woman's anguish caused by a brutish, revolting husband and her rescue by a kindly and very poor woman with a heart of gold. I believe this was Catherine Cookson's last novel according to the forward written by her. It was a miracle it got written at all.
Cookson is a favorite author. She gives a full life outlook in her novels. The crux of this one is to understand how a vagrant type person could be wearing such quality clothes when she shows up at an attorney's office and then collapses. AND it is quite a story that unfolds. Unfolding, being the key word here. It was a fascinating journey.
Suffering from domestic abuse so severe Irene becomes the silent lady and disappears into the slums for 27 years. She lives with Bella who protects her and the "boys" who enter their lives and together create a family. Irene eventually finds her way back to her son who has become a doctor. Irene dies at the end but with the love of he son.
I read all of Catherine Cookson's books some years ago and enjoyed them immensley. I recently re-read all of them and find that on a second look I found them all so very predictable, and was rather disappointed. However I'm sure that it is my tastes that have changed not the calibre of her story telling.
Like every Cookson book I've read so far, it is not only beautifuly done but a very satisfing read, as well.
I didn't want to put this book down. Yet I distinctly remember feeling sad after reading it; for the trauma the silent lady went through, would be horrible to experience.

Borrowed from public library.
This is her last book. It is very good. Irene, abused wife, lives on the street in London until Bella took her in (she didn't talk, always wore coat and odd hat, afraid of men). Bella had six men boarders who worked for her. I liked the ending.
I've always enjoyed Catherine Cookson's books, but this one is especially good. It's a "happily ever after" that is worth the time to read. It a "happily ever after that makes you cheer and brings a tear to your eye on the last page. I won't say anymore, except -- read it.
This was the final book by this author. She dictated it word-by-word to a transcriber. The entire book took one month. Sad to say, it sounded like the ramblings of an ill old woman. Total blather. : (
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's been awhile since I read this book. Something triggered my memory. It was her last book but it was the first Cookson that I read. She was a strong writer to the end. I loved this book.
Love Catherine Cookson books, her style of writing and descriptive style of everyday life in the North East.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, her last one dictated whilst she was ill.
Katie Q
This book was not quite as depressing as the other books I have read by Catherine Cookson. However, it is still set in the gloomier times of London.

A good read nonetheless.
One of the best books I've read. If you haven't read it, then by all means try to get your hands on a copy and do so. It's a brilliant work of fiction!
This was a sweet (well, sort of), easy to read book. My mother recommended it. It was a little predictable at times, but it kept my interest.
This was the first Catherine Cookson book I read, and it made me love her so much I have been going through each and every one of her books.
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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 ...more
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