THE GARMENT otherhood is every woman's right and the natural outcome of a happy marriage. What then is the answer when a normal and beautiful young woman is forced to recognise, after two years as the wife of a country parson in the north of England, that her own marriage is a sham and will never bring her the fulfilment she desperately needs? Grace Rouse is faced by this situation and like many other women before her, she seeks to escape a mounting sense of frustration and despair by turning from the husband she has tried in vain to love to the comfort and release offered by another man. The final outcome, however, does not conform to pattern, and Grace is forced to wage a war between a man who can give her children and a man who passionately desires children but can only give them his name. SLINKY JANE n Battenbun, Northumberland, there live four Puddleton men - Grandpop, Old Pop, Pop and Peter. Three of them have two things in common- a cast in one eye and in the other, a glint for the opposite sex. Peter, his mother's only joy, has no cast and no eye for women either - until one day a customer calls at his garage on the edge of the village. The village hadn't seen any
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.