The Dwelling Place by Catherine Cookson

 I recently read some advice to writers to 'throw rocks at your characters!'. Catherine Cookson does this in abundance. In this book, the beautiful heroine 'our Cissy' contends with the loss of her parents, living in a cave (no kidding) in cold Yorkshire with her several siblings, unrequited love, rape, an illegitimate child... The list goes on. It's almost never-ending. If you want a book to cheer you up during the pandemic, this is not it!

Cissy is a bit too heroic, while most of the the other women in the book are too evil, especially Isabelle. The rape is an especially upsetting scene. However, although it's all extremely overwrought,melodramatic, miserable, and unbelievable, Cookson gets away with it somehow. I am not sure how this book would go over in the 'Me Too' era, however. I used to read all of her books when I was much younger, but the tendency of her heroines to be extremely forgiving is a bit hard to get to grips with now. Having said that, she is probably better at creating understandable male characters.

In spite of its unremitting misery, I enjoyed this book, and I am watching the series on YouTube.

SPOILER: This post about the series is quite amusing.


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