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The Fifteen Streets: A Novel

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  901 Ratings  ·  35 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 imaginations of readers around the globe. Now, available for the first time in this country, comes one of Cookson's earliest and most stirring historical romances: The Fifteen Streets.

John O'Brien lives in a world whe
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Simon Schuster (first published 1952)
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Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous. It's been entirely too long since I read one of Cookson's book. This is one of her early ones portraying the dire poverty and struggle of many in Tyneside, England. The storyline was gripping and I read almost straight through the last half without a break.
From IMDb:
In northern England around 1900, the worker John O'Brien lives near poverty in a small house in the worker's district. He falls in love with Mary, the teacher of his highly intelligent younger sister Kathy and daughter of a rich family. Their love is doomed by the social difference, but the vigorous Mary refuses to allow outer circumstances destroying their love.

A movie was made based on this book and it's available at YouTube.

4* Feathers in the Fire
5* Katie Mulholland
5* The Black Velv
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction
This was my first read by Catherine Cookson, but I've watched almost all of the miniseries based on her novels, including the Fifteen Streets miniseries. I thought this book was pretty good and more or less what I expected. The story takes place in England, maybe 100 years ago or so. John is a young man from a very poor family who falls in love with Mary, a modern-minded young woman from a wealthy family. The class difference provides a big conflict, not to mention his very difficult family situ ...more
Mar 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't waste your time with this depressing book. Nothing good happens in it. Oh I'm sure you can find deeper meaning in the family who is wealthy and moves into the district to help the people and I agree that that is the epitome of Christian living, other than that, nothing worth wasting your time on if you like to read for a lovely escape. If you like depressing books, go for it! You should love this one.

KA N Newton
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My most favourite Catherine Cookson book - the Kindle Edition has a different cover. Plain purple with the head and shoulders of Catherine Cookson pictured on it.

Poor mean streets nicknamed "The Fifteen Streets".

A family with two older sons - one good and one a baddie with a sick father and a mother who was the centre of the family and younger siblings.

The goodie falls in love with the school teacher (daughter of a wealthy man) of his younger sister. The baddie chasing everything in skirts.

The g
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently discovered Catherine Cookson's prolific works. Last week I read The Dwelling Place (1971) and I LOVED it. I did not like The Fifteen Streets (1952) nearly as well. I'm not sure if I did myself a disservice by picking one up at random to read and then trying to go back. (On the other hand, if I read this one first, it might have been the first AND last of Cookson's books I attempted to read, so who knows.) It might be unfair to compare these two works, but I can't help it. The Dwelling ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
I have read a good twenty Cookson books at this point and all except one have warranted at least three stars till now. I had a hard time with this one. The subject matter did not really interest me as much as Cookson's usual choices. Besides being about a very poor, struggling family on Fifteen Streets, it focuses on the late 1800s/ early 1900s religious tensions between Catholics and Pentecostals.

It has the usual dramatic twists that Cookson is famed for, but in this case they were predictable
Lizzy Attwood
I have to admit i saw the film whilst on holiday, and i loved it! So there was no doubt in my mind i would love the book! And i did it had me in tears even though i knew what was going to happen. It's alot darker than the film and i think that makes the ending more triumphant. The characters are described in perfect detail that you really can picture them. It is a little far fetched and in the reality of things i doubt that the ending would be so merry, but i love this book and the story is as o ...more
An excellent short novel from Cookson’s early 1950s period. This one has drama, tragedy and romance. The setting is one with which the author was familiar: a poverty-stricken strife-torn family in England’s Newcastle area at the turn of the century. It is mostly somber fare but is illuminated by ardent love-at-first-sight infatuation. Cookson explores the deep divide between the rising middle class and the underprivileged. Surprisingly, supernatural spiritualistic mind-over-matter beliefs and he ...more
Sarah Goodwin
I'm a big fan of Catherine Cookson but this one didn't really do it for me. I much prefer the dwelling place and the glass virgin in terms of plot and character, though this had some great moments.

You can check out mine and a few friends' review of the TV adaptation of The Fifteen Streets here-

Warning - is entirely for comedy purposes, contains dodgy northern accents and gratuitous use of the word 'fisticuffs'.
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Cookson is one of my favorite authors, and I've enjoyed most of her books. I think this was one of her early works before she became a popular author. It was difficult to read. She assumed that her readers would know some of the words she used, but I haven't even heard them. The ending begged for a sequel, but I hope she resisted the urge to follow this drama. Thank goodness she began to write well enough to be a favorite for so many people.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book of Cookson that I've read, and already it seems repetitive. I know, that this book was the first, but, unfortunately, Cookson used the same types and devices in later books in the same manner.
Main character and his mother were almost repeated in
in "The Menagerie", and "good priest, bad priest" pair seemed just too familiar after reading "The Maltese Angel".
Probably, if I read this book first, I would like it better.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cookson's tone is a little moralistic for me (think Louisa May Alcott) but you can always count on her for a happy ending where the good guy totally wins. This is one of my favorites of her books--I liked the protagonist couple that much. Also, you can find a lot of her stories in made-for-TV movies of varying levels of quality, so sometimes that's fun.
Nellie Reeves
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very first books I ever read and one I have read many times. Such a wonderful story from such a wonderful storyteller. I always thought Catherine Cookson was a female version of Charles Dickens, of the few books of hers that I have read. I loved this tale and was so thrilled to see the happy ending.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Read this upon recommendation. It was a little hard to get into because of the dialect of the speakers. Set in Ireland, it's the story of a family living in a poor area. Quick read, but the ending wasn't clean and left me a little disappointed. The cover, by the way, is not an accurate portrayal of the book (if that sways you one way or the other).
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.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a pretty depressing book. Yes everyone else raves about the struggle for survival for lower classes but I'm more superficial. I don't enjoy books anymore that are so negative usually. At least the ending turned out ok. I'd rate it 3.5 if there were half stars. It took me a while to get into it though.
Lynn Smith
Great family saga, full of grit, sadness and truthful social and economic conditions of the north east shipping community of the time. An honest account of working class families, of affection, abusive relationships and complicated family dynamics. A favourite of mine to this day.
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2007
I discovered Catherine Cookson through a fellow Jane Austin loving friend. Cookson writes about a much different class of people with some serious hardships. I am captivated by her characters and plot lines. I will definitely read more of her books.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As in most of Cookson's books she writes with strong female characters overcoming some miserable circumstance or misfortune. I also love the English accents given her characters. If you like books set in old England and well developed characters, you will enjoy books by Catherine Cookson!
Sep 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life in the Fifteen Streets was tough - a continuous struggle for survival. Some families gave up and descended into a dismal state of constant poverty. Others, like the O'Briens, fought grimly for a world they were only rarely allowed to glimpse.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of Catherin Cookson's writings and am always captivated by the story and by the characters. She is one of my all-time favorite authors.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was her first book and it was a joy, Catherine Cookson only got better.
James M
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dram-rom
A docker falls in love with a teacher as their two very different worlds collide.
Keri Miles roper
Jun 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish it. It may be wonderful, and I may try again at another time, but it was a struggle to get thru the first 50 pages, so I'm holding out.
Aug 17, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-new
Emily Stone
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great read :)
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good plot, pacing and characterization.

Not overloaded with historical details or the minutia of character's lives--just simple storytelling done very well.”
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of her better historical fiction books - a tale of early London and a dockside family. Lots of drama.
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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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