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The Silent Lady

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  784 Ratings  ·  48 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 She passed away in 1998, but luckily for her fans, Cookson left behind several unpublished novels, among them the compelling Silent Lady.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 Dwelling Place by Catherine CooksonThe Glass Virgin by Catherine CooksonThe Fifteen Streets by Catherine CooksonFeathers in the Fire by Catherine CooksonThe Wingless Bird by Catherine Cookson
Favourite Catherine Cookson Book?
23rd out of 32 books — 15 voters
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónAtonement by Ian McEwanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanJohn Adams by David McCulloughThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Books of 2001
298th out of 331 books — 168 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,170)
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May 27, 2013 Jenifer rated it really liked it
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.
Julie Powell
Aug 23, 2014 Julie Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing
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.
Bonny Howe
Apr 03, 2014 Bonny Howe rated it it was amazing
Of all the novels Catherine cookson wrote I think this one is by far the very book Catherine
Aug 07, 2011 Kendra rated it it was ok
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
Feb 03, 2013 Deyanne rated it liked it
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.
Siobhan Johnson
Jul 06, 2015 Siobhan Johnson rated it it was amazing
The best thing about Catherine Cookson books is how she brings characters alive within moments. I love the way they are 'real' whether they are good or bad.

From the very start this story had me hooked although we don't see much of 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. However the rest of the characters are all influenced by her in many ways from love to hate to sorrow to adoration. She is an amazing
 Northern Light
Jan 06, 2016 Northern Light rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
This book starts when a dishevelled woman turns up at a solicitor's and is nearly turned away. However it soon become clear that she has been missing for 26 years so where has she been.

We are then taken back 26 years and learn her story and how destitute and alone she was taken in by Bella who loved her as a mother along with her boys.

This is a beautiful if sad story told with great pathos and although gritty and hard is also full of hope and fun. How the family's hardships are dealt with is to
Feb 21, 2014 Carmen rated it it was amazing
A compelling story of tragedy, loss and love. Highly recommended.
Monica Horn
Oct 07, 2014 Monica Horn rated it liked it
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.
Jan 23, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
This is an easy read as all is told in a detached third person narration devoid of strong emotion, especially negative or pessimistic emotions. The abuse at the centre of the story is reported as a series of events form the past with much left to the reader's delicate imagination. This is a feel good novel where all move towards a predictable and saccharine ending. All characters, bar one, are a little too good to be true. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
Meredith Morgan
An older story by Catherine Cookson about a young woman caught in an abusive marriage. Her husband thinks she is having an affair and kicks her out on the streets, she is gone for 26 years and then turns up at the solicitors hardly able to talk. The book then tells the story of her marriage, her life while she was gone and the follows her finding her son again.
Patricia Weston
Jan 25, 2015 Patricia Weston rated it it was amazing
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 it was ok
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.
Jan 27, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a Catherine Cookson book For ages, and I must say I enjoyed getting back to her style and story. A great holiday read, and so easy to curl up to on a holiday.
Jan 03, 2015 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 12, 2016 Jas rated it liked it
It's a sad story, but highlights how people can surprise you in unlikely ways with compassion and kindness. I found it a little one dimensional, and slow at times but with some interesting twists.
May 07, 2016 Lena rated it it was amazing
This story touched my soul , torn my heart but made me fall in love with it. I very much recommend to read it!
Jan 14, 2015 Dpic rated it really liked it
The most moving story I've read in a long time. Cookson was definitely one of the best storytellers ever.
Fran Paton
Apr 16, 2014 Fran Paton rated it it was amazing
excellent. not how i thought it would like typical Catherine Cookson. Stick with it. good read.
Nov 23, 2015 Curlyhair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As usual a good read with an interesting intriguing story.
Karen C
Sep 14, 2014 Karen C rated it it was ok
Don't remember. Just read her books sometimes.
Marcie Desrosiers
Apr 10, 2014 Marcie Desrosiers rated it liked it
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
Aug 15, 2011 Judy Tolley rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 01, 2012 Jean rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 24, 2010 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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.
Nov 16, 2013 Loie rated it liked it
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.
May 18, 2012 Lili rated it liked it
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.
Feb 21, 2014 Zoe rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
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.

Aug 19, 2011 Joyce rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
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Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, who Catherine believed was her older sister. Catherine 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
More about Catherine Cookson...

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