✰ [BOOKS] ✸ The Black Velvet Gown By Catherine Cookson ✽ – Uroturk.info

The Black Velvet Gown When Riah is given a job at Moor House, she feels her prayers are answered She has not only found a home, a job, her and the Master of the House develop a friendship Mr Miller her employer tells Riah that he wishes to teach her children Riah feels blessed by his seeming kindness but learns that the kindness has a cost and horrifying cost I notice that many people miss a important story arch in this book It relates to the Black Velvet Gown given to Riah by Miller She believes he is to bed her, but to her horror discovers that he has a disturbing interest in her eldest son Davey The Black velvet gown was his payment for her son it s so subtly done, many miss it, but once you realise Miller s motives, much of the previous dialogue and odd things he says suddenly become alarmingly clear The revelation comes to light when Davey s reward for being a good pupil grooming him for his silence isn t presented and begins to paw at the frightened boy who realises that the man s affection is anything but Fatherly The sudden realisation of what had happened during his lessons causes a mental break and begins to attack his abuser Riah tells Miller that she is going to take the children away from him He blackmails her by saying that he ll tell the Police of Davey s attack on him In those times, position and wealth helped nefarious creatures get away with all kinds of terrors Poor Riah is trapped with having to look after the injured Miler Davey leaves home and finds work safely away from Moor House She keeps her youngest sons away by keeping a watchful eye Since Riah s daughter is blissfully unaware of the sorrowful events and sees Miller as a fatherly figure, a mentor Her naivety makes her assume that Davey is nothing but a thug and a lout This is another sick act Miller inflicts on the innocent family By tearing a Mother and daughter apart Riah s need to protect her daughter Biddy from the horrors of the house,drives a wedge between the pair All biddy sees though her innocent eyes is that her mentor was attacked by her angry brother and that her mother fathers Davey above her The sad truth being that Riah just wants to protect Biddy from the heartbreak on discovering that her father figure is a child abuser Biddy grows up and becomes a accomplished heard working young woman With her mentor who taught her French and Latin now dead, she leaves home to become a laundry servant in a grand Manor Her kindness, intelligence draw much attention, much negative die to it being considered vulgar for the lower classes to develop airs and education She teaches several of the other maids how to read and write Davey also works at the Manor as a Stable lad In contrast to Davey who hides his education to fit in, Biddy defiantly flaunts it This leads to a dreadful attack by two of the houses young Lady and Master, who string her up and beat her She is thankfully rescued by Lawrence who has also noticed Biddy but in apositive way Definitely one of Cookson s strongest literary pieces This gripping read features focuses on the difficulty in being a educated working class Cookson was often given the label of a Romance writer A term she detested due to its condescension and the fact she saw her work as Historical fiction I d agree in the case of this book Although Biddy finds romance within her story arch, the stark and thoughtful style gives this novel this some depth. There Would Be Times When Riah Millican Came To Regret That Her Husband Had Learned To Read And Write, And Then Shared His Knowledge With Her And Their Children For This Was Durham In TheS, When Employers Tended To Regard The Spread Of Education With Suspicion But Now Seth Millican Was Dead And She Was A Widow With The Need To Find A Home And A Living For Herself And Her ChildrenThe Chance Of Becoming A Housekeeper Didn T Work Out, But It Led To Moor House And A Scholarly Recluse Obsessed With That Very Book Learning That Could Open So Many Doors And Yet Create So Many Problems Especially With Her Daughter, Biddy, Who Was Not Only Bright, But WitfulTHE BLACK VELVET GOWN Is The Story Of A Mother And Daughter, Often At Odds With Each Other, Facing The Need To Challenge And Fight The Prejudice Of An Age A Narrative Of Great Power And Diversity That Is One Of Catherine Cookson S Major Achievements I absolutely loved this book, and I really didn t expect to Based on the cover and various descriptions of it and its author, I really expected another shallow, crappy historical fiction really a romance in pseudo intellectual clothes This, to my mind, was nothing of the sort No, nothing sweeping or epic happens none of the characters change the world But they do change their worlds, and that alone was enjoyable enough to read It really gave you a sense of the conditions of the time period.The real draw for me was the characters, though I loved how deeply drawn they were no major characters here are one dimensional The jerks had softer, gentler sides, the kind ones had mean streaks and were capable of resentment and bitterness People like the wrong people and dismiss the good ones mistakenly, they make mistakes Biddy, the arguable main character, gets herself into trouble because she s got a temper and doesn t hold her tongue when that temper is high Mr Miller is deeply, deeply complex, and I went through different shades with him By the end of the book, I still wasn t quite sure what to make of him They felt like real people with real struggles, and for that I adore this book.No earth shattering plots or anything like that here, but if you want a genuine human drama, this is for you I highly recommend it. I have read many Catherine Cookson novels over the years This writer is exceptionally prolific, and it s difficult to categorize her style they are certainly historical, with a bit of a Gothic flair however, many deal with deprivation and great sadness this is one that I really love It is about a woman who falls on hard times and seeks menial employment to survive however, she finds a white light among the ashes of disparity and great joy I enjoyed this book very much. My grandmother, Stephanie Treffry, was a great admirer of Catherine Cookson, and so I picked up this novel to try and find out what she liked so much about this writer Like Norah Lofts, another British best seller, Catherine Cookson s novels are tied to a particular place, in her case the mining and fishing areas of the north east around Durham and Tyneside So it is no surprise that this novel opens next to a coal pit In this novel, however, we havethan one protagonist The book description fromemphasizes the tangled mother and daughter relationship between Riah Millican and her daughter Biddy, and you could describe this book as having two protagonists, Riah in parts one and two and Biddy in parts three and four But that completely ignores the title that Ms Cookson chose to give this book, THE BLACK VELVET GOWN As far as I can see, the incident over the black velvet gown, has everything to do with Riah s relationship with her eldest son Davey, and very little to do with Biddy In my opinion, the way to think of this novel is as a book with multiple story threads, with multiple story arcs So the incident over the gown forms the top of the story arc about the relationship between Mother and Son Whereas the top of the story arc about Mother and Daughter is the incident in which Biddy overhears information that tells her that Riah has deceived her On top of all that, we have two three four love stories, a family feud, and a complexity of relationships between staff members of a large house in England in the 1830s, and their employers But this novel is never confusing, and I don t think that most readers will complain that there are too many characters Somehow, through it all, Ms Cookson s writing is so clear, and the relationships she describes are so vivid and grounded in reality, that I don t think anyone reading this will be confused If you have never read this author before, you should try this novel Five stars. I didn t realize that the education of the lower ranking classes in the late 1800s was such a controversial issue till I picked up this book For a Cookson novel, it was a tad disappointing. I have come to expect a bitout of her It had an interesting enough start beginning with a woman named Maria and her four children Her husband has just passed away of Cholera, leaving her with two sons, two daughters, and a small bag of money in a mining town that wishes to kick them out After being turned aside by her own family, Maria takes a journey that leads her to a manor house with a peculiar master The master provides a roof over her and her children s heads in exchange for her housekeeping skills He also takes it upon himself to educate her children This is not without its price, however At this point, it gets interesting. The master has an inappropriate attraction to Maria s older son There are some scandalous occurences and the famly is split apart as blackmail enters the picture The last half of the novel is about Maria s daughter, Biddy, who at this point is educated and according to the gentry and their servants, doesn t know her place As she enters the laundry service at a larger estate up the road, readers see how badly educated lower class people were treated Biddy makes a stand tho and begins teaching others to read At this point, it is a war between upper and lower class and educated versus uneducated Can Biddy survive the struggle at the big house Will Maria find happiness despite the restrictions her master has put upon her Interesting but not one of Cookson s best. Just arrived from USA trough BM.Page 165 Books, books, books, I d like to burn the lot People are right, the gentry are right, the working class shouldn t be allowed to handle them, the re disturbers, trouble makers Page 218 In the main, ye happy, because they are satisfied with their lot but teach them to hold a pen and to read from a page, then you are dropping seeds of discontent into their otherwise content lives.This is the story of Riah Millican and their children, specially her daughter, Biddy, who has a natural gift for learning and reading.When her husband dies, Riah found shelter for her family in Moor House where the master, Percival Miller, a reclusive former teacher, who will teach their children to read and write Biddy became his favorite since she learned to love books through her dead father.But then Riah sent Biddy to work in a laundry of a great house where she continues her passion for books which will bring her a lot of pain and troubles.This is another magnificent book by Dame Cookson with has a TV movie based on this story The Black Velvet Gown 1991. I am forever buying books to get home to find I have already read the book I just purchased It s so disappointing to sit down ready for a new story to find you have bought the bookthan once.I can only think that it was such a good story that when I read the intro on the back of the book I had to have the book in question.So I have decided to make a list of the books I have read that I loved and this is one such book.Was quite a few years ago that I first read this story when I was on a camping trip and it made my holiday so much better having a good book to lose myself in.When the rain was lashing down and the wind was howling round my tent it really added to the story as I felt that I was on those cobbled streets.If you haven t already read any books by Catherine Cookson you really should as her stories where absolutely brilliant and this book was no exception.Some of her books where adapted for television and when I watched those the characters where just as I imagined.A very gifted author who I dearly miss and I often re read her stories.I would givethan five stars if I could Storytelling at it s best. First time I have read Catherine Cookson Excellent writer This book is about rising above your social standing If you are poor you should not rise to greater heights and you should not learn to read or write, no good will come of that Mind you, it is 1830 s we re in, in Durham county, England when children went out to eke out a living young as 7 or so Main character Biddy does rise above her station and it is that journey that is so well written in The Black Velvet Gown, the ironies, the family dramas upstairs and down that move this book to a shocking if not totally appropriate ending I shall certainly enjoy another Cookson book soon. I love this book and have read it at least 5 times.I love the last line, it just showed you that people should be careful before they do a kindness just got done reading it again 7 9 15

About the Author: Catherine Cookson

Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty stricken woman, Kate, who Catherine believed was her older sister Catherine 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

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