This ​warm-hearted collection of stories are the last unpublished works of fiction written by Catherine Cookson.

This treasure trove of talent is set against the background of places already familiar to Catherine Cookson’s countless readers — the North-East, the South Coast and London, with a time-scale stretching from the 1920s to the present day.

In the title story, a disillusioned husband decides to call on an office colleague he has always slightly despised, and finds himself having to re-evaluate his own family relationships in the light of what he discovers in the other’s home. In the three stories that make up The Forbidden Word, the first set in the 1920s, the second in the 1950s, and the third in the 1980s, Catherine Cookson traces the changes in attitudes to marriage and pregnancy that have taken place in the last eighty years.

In other stories, a shy bachelor begins to make friends for the first time in his life among the people who, like himself, have taken refuge from the Blitz in the London Underground; and a much put-upon young woman makes up her mind to escape from her family’s domestic exploitation of her. The reader catches a glimpse behind the scenes in a large department store, and learns of the havoc that a husband’s passion for cricket can cause.

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