The Glass Virgin
by Catherine Cookson
Category: Fiction / Historical
0 pages; ISBN: 0743261267
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
The Glass Virgin
Simon & Schuster, Dec 2004, $25.00, 356 pp.
Annabella Lagrange has grown up as an overly protected aristocrat. She was never allowed to go outside the gates of her home Redford Hall though once she saw rioting children assault the grounds. She learned when she was younger that her parents were estranged as her father was a womanizer who lived in a different house. Her mother was a pious individual who showered religion on Annabella as if she must save her daughter’s soul from the devil or her philandering husband, but never displayed one iota of affection or love towards her child.
Now seventeen, Annabella’s gilded cage collapses when her father finally bankrupts her mother’s Rosina's glass factory. Her personal life implodes too as Annabella finds out that Rosina is not her mother; that her biological mom is a local madam that her father impregnated. Annabella begins her new life far from wealth as a farmhouse maid with only handsome Manuel Mendoza willing to help her adjust.
This Edwardian tale is vintage Catherine Cookson at her best as the deceased author places her heroine in an extreme makeover in which the probability is that she will not survive. The bottom seems endless as one nasty revelation after another sends a formerly pampered Annabella into the working world. As she slowly adapts she falls in love, but her social upbringing remains part of her personal frame of reference so can she truly find happiness with a working class stiff? Though some readers will detest the myriad of sidebars that describe social conditions in Edwardian England, Ms. Cookson continues to be the best chef for cross-class historical tales of that era even several years after her death.
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