TILLY WED by Catherine Cookson
Kirkus Star


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Second in a fat Cookson trilogy (Tilly, 1980)--but now the Queen of domestic zap-and-powie in rural England moves for a time into pastures new: early-19th-century Texas indeed! For those dim about the earlier trials of Tilly Trotter, spunky orphan of a poor English mining family, Cookson eases in giant slabs of Till), like a master mason preparing for the next load of woe and whoopie. The new action, however, begins with the death of widower Mark Sopwith, the mine owner to whom Tilly has been a loving ""wife"" for twelve years but has never married (rumors that Tilly caused the death of a witch would have sullied Mark's name). So, now pregnant, Tilly must contend with the grown up Sopwith children: nasty Jessie Ann, who drives her out of Highfield Manor; nice stammering John, who escorts her back in; and Matthew, arrived from Texas, who's hostile at first but finally blurts out his love for Tilly. Before they wed and sail wild-Westward, Tilly gives birth to baby Willy and is a target of village abuse; she watches, helpless, while Willy is beaned by an old enemy (and Willy will eventually go blind); and she fixes John up with a nice girl who also has a handicap. Then--on to Texas, where Matthew has a ranch partnership with unpleasant, elderly Alver Portez. (Cookson's Old West is a curiously tidy place in spite of Indians, bears, and expectorating Americans: ""everybody spits; no matter who they are, where they are, they spit."") There's trouble for Tilly, of course: Portez, hated by his daughter Luisa (who becomes Tilly's friend), attempts to oust our heroine by broadcasting her scandalous background and importing little Josefina, Matthew's illegitimate child by an unloving Spanish/Indian woman. But Tilly holds firm, joins Matthew in a trek to purchase a new homestead, and survives a terrible Indian attack--which will prove fatal to Matthew but also, back at the ranch, eliminate Portez. Finally, then, while Luisa and Tilly's servant Katie stay in Texas with new husbands, dauntless Tilly, her hair now maelstrom-white, returns to England with Willy and Josefina. Grand stuff. . . and stay tuned.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow