Best-selling author Catherine Cookson created a unique and profoundly affecting literature from the personal tragedies of her working-class upbringing in the industrial North East. Now her acclaimed biographer has written an astonishing account of her search to unravel the greatest secret of Cookson's life — the truth about her father. As the story unfolds, the reader is led to an ever deeper understanding of the demons that drove Cookson to become the most popular novelist of her day. Catherine Cookson said that the shame of her illegitimacy was the driving force behind her compulsion to write. She claimed not to know who her father was but allowed people to believe that he was an aristocrat. Kathleen Jones has at last discovered the truth about the elusive 'Alexander Davies' named on Cookson's birth certificate. She tells a story as surprising and compelling as one of Cookson's own novels and reveals that Catherine not only knew who her father was, but that she used him as the bigamous hero of one of her books, The Gambling Man. Kathleen's search for the truth led her from the mining communities of the North East, to Scotland and America. It is a story of terrible poverty and of the long years of damage visited on three families by the lies and evasions of one charming man. But it is also a story of hope and of reconciliation. Cookson's greatest biographer brings the story of her subject's life, and of the pain that made her, to a final and deeply moving conclusion.
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