THE RAG NYMPH by Catherine Cookson


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 Another fairy tale for grown-ups fond of Victorian waif-to- well-being tales featuring the deserving poor and plain, the beautiful, rich, and wicked, and other lurking ogres. This time out, the ever popular Cookson (My Beloved Son; The Love Child, etc.) offers the saga of a wee lass headed for trouble--all beginning in an 1854 English mill village. Millie Forester, first seen here at seven when her poor mother is forced to streetwalk for food, finds a reluctant protector in Agnes Winkowski, aka ``Raggie Aggie,'' a Tugboat Annie type who peddles rags from the remains of the old family farmhouse, which also shelters Ben, 17, taken in when he was a small lad. Millie's Ma commits suicide, and a brothel owner is after the beautiful child, so it's off to a convent school--an education finished when Millie kicks a virulent nun in the shins. Then when Millie is 16, she's happily working as a nursemaid nearby--until at a servants' party, the wife of a mill owner directs some terrible sexual antics. So it's home again and a rich suitor--in spite of the objections of sturdy and saintly Ben, possessor of all the manly virtues if physically a bit short. Two monster men will then rustle the grass--a long-lost father and that old devil brothel procurer- -but there's that Cookson specialty on the way: the last-minute rescue. With dialogue ripe and rugged: a grand groaner for the faithful.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-86477-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993


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