Hannah's the latest in Cookson's ongoing parade of chapped-handed lasses whose vicissitudes prove that it takes true grit to scour through life's offal. Of course, women are stronger than men but at their mercy; men are, alack, Lust's fools. Take deserted Sally Boyle, for example, who in 1850 walks the streets of Newcastle, without much of a nyme, dumps childe Hannah on nice Matthew Thornton (claiming paternity) and then conveniently expires. Death is actually on Hannah's side, as you will see, but ahead of her are two wicked witches: Matthew's wife Anne, who beats her near to death and (after Matthew dies), marries her off to lumpen butcher Fred; and Hannah's mother-in-law, who goes Anne one better. Cookson readers will know that Fred's days are numbered, and sure enough, he's popped off by typhoid, leaving Hannah to join the man she's always loved--rough Ned, father of her child--and toll the bell for belie mÃ¨re. As predictable and densely adhesive as a Newcastle pasty--strictly for addicts.