At the end of the Second World War, Matthew Wallingham returns to his family home, blinded by his injuries and uncertain about his future. There he finds his father ill, his mother obviously unhappy, and his brother, who has made a success of running the farm on the family's estate during the war years, resentful that Matthew should think he can now offer help.
Forced to realise that his plans for the future are not going to work, Matthew starts to look for a new career. He finds himself becoming dependent on Liz - his nurse and, increasingly, the focus of all his thoughts and hopes. But Liz herself has a shadow hanging over her that will bring a terrifying violence into the Wallingham's family life...
Set in the aftermath of the Second World War, A House Divided encompasses the social change taking place and the pains and pleasures of the brave new world of peace.
Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She 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 Award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling novels established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1997. For many years she lived near Newcastle upon Tyne. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998.