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The Rag Nymph

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  994 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Set in the northern countryside of Victorian-era England, this spellbinding novel of good and evil, wealth and want, and the profound power of love is another major achievement in the career of one of the world's most widely read and beloved authors.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1991)
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  994 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Shirley Revill
I loved the stories that Catherine Cookson told in her many books. Over the years they made me laugh and made me cry and that to me is a truly exceptional gift. Storytelling at it's best.
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: high school and up
Shelves: 2013
Catherine Cookson doesn't shy away from the good, bad, or ugly; especially in this novel. The plot is based on a girl who barely escapes the life of a child sex slave where pimps are powerful and untouchable in a poor, industrial English community. In this dark world, those who succeed at guarding the innocent shine, but most are either beaten or exhausted by the fight. Most choose to ignore the atrocities happening under their noses while putting on pious appearances.

I was riveted to this story
Lynne weir
I came across this through the series thats played on the channel 'Yesterday' and was determained to read the book. I had it read in a few days and have enjoyed it greatly. Its a book based not on the grand side of society but of that class which is little talked about, the class that lived in the dirty shifty parts of society. This was interesting to read on as most of the historic books I have read are based on the fancy side of society. The ending was one I loved and I'm glad I read it and pl ...more
Shirley Revill
I have read many Catherine Cookson books over the years but this book was one of my favourites.
Well written and great storyline. Recommended.
Whitney Oaks
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty good read. Took me awhile to get used to the dialect of the characters. Hard to read such improper language. lol. I really loved the characters and how simple the plot was.

Raggie Aggie takes in an abandoned Millie Forester after her mother leaves her on the street while running from the law. Millie is a beautiful and already well-learned child and Aggie knows that no good can come from her being left to her own vices, so she becomes her guardian until the mother is released from jail. B
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was very good - one of her best. It was made into a TV series as well.

Back Cover Blurb:
Aggie Winkowski has endured the Industrial Revolution that brought with it the factories and slums, and turned her talents into a thriving business, trading rags and old clothes. Then, in the summer of 1854, seventeen year old Millie exploded into her life and gave it a new meaning.
Bookish Enchantment (Katherine Quirke)
What a nice story. The only real annoyance is how the characters do a lot of repeating of phrases. It gets rather annoying, almost like a filler with the book. Maybe it reflects the time period the book was written?
Beatrice Rivers
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! About all that Millie goes through and then who she ends up with... Another great Catherine Cookson book!

I Highly Recommend this book!
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
The Rag Nymph is set in the poor slums of 19th century Manchester, following the story of an orphaned little girl. In my teens I saw the TV mini series based on this book, and after that spent years trying to find the actual book. I'm glad that I was not disappointed, as I still loved the story, possibly even more in it's original book form. I can definitely recommend it 😊.
The Rag Nymph is a historical novel set in the 1840s and 50s in England. Millie is the daughter of two shady people: her mother was forced to turn to prostitution, and her father murdered somebody (he claims in her mother's defense, which is revealed to be a falsehood.) She is adopted by Aggie, the rag woman and grows up with her and Ben, a friend of Aggie's. This is her story. Millie loves Aggie a lot, but unfortunately for her, Millie is very pretty. Too pretty. And a lot of people are interes ...more
Hayley Shaver
This is a good book. Millie was taken in by Aggie after wandering to her house. Her mother was jailed on prostitution charges. Millie meets Ben, another orphan taken in by Aggie. Millie and Aggie go to court to see Millie's mother fined. When Aggie goes to pay Millie's mother's fine so she can resume her life, she finds her charity isn't needed, as a pimp has already whisked away Millie's mother - - a pimp who will stop at nothing to get Millie in his possession too. Millie is the most lovely ch ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed The Rag Nymph even though it had some disturbing bits. I liked the main character, the rag nymph, Millie, but I didn't love her she was too perfect in every way. She was beautiful, smart, ladylike, pure and very moral. I did love her hero Ben, he wasn't perfect in every single way. Physically he was flawed, plus he had a bit of a temper and a jealous streak but he was loyal and intelligent and believed in improving himself through education, plus a sarcastic sense of humor. Ben is prob ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
A TV series Rag Nymph (1997) was made based on this masterpiece written by Catherine Cookson.

This movie is available at YouTube.

Thanks Bettie to find this little gem.

4* Feathers in the Fire
5* Katie Mulholland
4* The Mallen Streak
5* The Black Velvet Gown
4* Tilly Trotter
5* Tilly Trotter Wed
4* Our Kate
5* The Rag Nymph
TR Tilly Trotter Widowed
TR Tilly Alone
TR The Mallen Girl
TR The Mallen Litter
TR The Fifteen Streets
TR The Maltese Angel
TR The Wingless Bird
Carolyn  C.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Older teen on up
This historical novel is set in the slums of Northern England around 1854. In all honesty, I wasn't crazy about the author however this quick read carries with it a great message of unconditional love and being able to look beyond a person's outward appearance and circumstances.

Trying to survive as a young girl, adolescent or women at that time without being from a family of "means" was as tragic as it was frightening. Sorry...but I'll stick with the challenges of living in America 2010 thank yo
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Another good book from Cookson. The characters don't exactly speak well but once you get into the dialect, speaking out loud helps, you get the feel for the characters. I had hoped she ended up with who she did in the end, the added villain and bad father was a good move for the book. This one seems to have the worst villain of any of the ones I've read of hers. I think the thing I don't like about her books that keeps me from giving her a 4th star is the all too happily ever after endings.
J Thorne
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was about 8-10, slightly more serious material than most 8 year olds would read! - but there was a nice picture on the cover so I picked it off the shelf at the library.
It is such a good story, filled with good people and baddies, and a love story. It showed me another period of time and what it was like for the people living then.
I still enjoy re-reading it every now and then.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Story of trials and tribulations of an orphan with unusual looks as she is prey to men around, and has to grow up from a little girl to a young woman with fragile dreams and a grown up with romantic illusions gone before she finds love and security.

As usual Cookson excells in the atmosphere of times and place and people coming alive.
Melissa Martin
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a good story and I thought it was worth 3.5 stars. It was interesting to have so much more details of the 'actual state' of affairs of the time, during the height of the industrial progress and the failings it brought with it.

The characters were very believable and had just the right amount of depth and detail without going overboard.

A worthy read.
May 18, 2012 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.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a "Husband Read-Aloud" book. As of late, he has become enchanted with Catherine Cookson film currently on tap at Netflix and asked me to choose one of her works and read it to him so he could hear her writing style...which I have done.

Next week, he will have settled on a new interest. Wonder what Netflix has in its vaults for July??
Naomi Wood
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love this story - This is my first CC novel i've read. I was put off as i always though CC books were for the older generation however i really enjoyed this story and was so pleasently surprise. Will surely be reading this one again as its such a great story with lovable characters and a sweet love story.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Late comer to Catherine Cookson now a hardcore fan her works hold you into this word movie she was an awesome arthur and if you are looking for mystery, along with romance hint of sadness then read on you too will become an avid fan
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
Lynn Smith
I loved this book. A well told tale set in Durham in the 19th century. A tale of social historical drama, deceit, child abduction and prostitution as well heart warming characters, cruelty and love. Fell in love with the characters of Aggie, Millie and Ben.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dreamy girls
I discovered Catherine Cookson rummaging through my Grandma's bookshelves when I was 11. It's no secret that these are somewhat maudlin and romantic books, but they have a heart underneath which accounts for their popularity. This was my favourite and is fairly representative.
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. An easy read.
Amna Javaid
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The rag nymph is a historic fiction story set in mid 1800s. It has a very simple plot but a quite mmm different language. (for me, some words were too hard to understand 😀)
It has three main character Millie, her guardian Aggie and Ben, a friend of Millie.

Now coming to plot. Aggie belongs to a lower middle class family and sells rags for living. She adopts Millie who was left by her mother in Street while running from police and then killed herself in jail to keep herself from prostitution, Ben i
Christina Yorke
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes! A historical drama without being detailed to death! This lovely story of Aggie the rag lady who took in young Ben , a handsome young man with underdeveloped legs, and Millie the fairy-like young orphan who must be kept hidden from certain evil, follows the lives of the unlikely household. Ben and Aggie dote on Millie and do what they can to keep her hidden away from the evil lurking about. Lots of action and loveable characters in this simple but captivating book.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm halfway through this book and to be honest I am struggling to make any sense of it. Beyond what is obviously an intentional romance between Millie and various other characters, the whole prose is a bit messy for my liking. Characters and names are flying out of the word work, to the point of their appearance making no sense whatsoever. The story itself is leaping ahead in great chunks, as if it can't meet the end of itself quickly enough. Am genuinely disappointed.
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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
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