Monday, August 20, 2012

The Rag Nymph, Catherine Cookson

The road was narrow. It could be measured by the width of a coach with a man walking at each side, but even so it was wider than the streets and alleys leading off from both sides of it.

The Rag Nymph is a historical novel set in the 1840s and 50s in England. Millie is the daughter of two shady people: her mother was forced to turn to prostitution, and her father murdered somebody (he claims in her mother's defense, which is revealed to be a falsehood.) She is adopted by Aggie, the rag woman and grows up with her and Ben, a friend of Aggie's. This is her story. Millie loves Aggie a lot, but unfortunately for her, Millie is very pretty. Too pretty. And a lot of people are interested in her. Aggie and Ben are trying to protect her. They send her to a Catholic school at one point, and then she becomes a nursemaid to a family of six children.

I learned a lot about this period in England, and the way that the middle and lower class fared. This portrayal seemed pretty realistic to me, and I didn't know that all these shady things went on, even though there were (some) laws against it. But there were always plenty of loopholes too. I enjoyed all the characters too; from Aggie to Ben to the not-so-nice characters; they were portrayed pretty well. I must say, however, that The Rag Nymph started out kind of slowly; I wasn't really that interested until perhaps fifty pages in. Still, I'm glad I stuck with it, as it was a fairly rewarding read. I got this one from Simon & Schuster, and even though it wasn't published recently, they still graciously provided it. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys historical fiction set in Britain.

Read The Rag Nymph:
  • if you like historical fiction
  • if you like books set in Britain
  • if you like books set in the mid nineteenth century
  • if you like books that deal with lower and middle class people and social issues
351 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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