The Long Walk Home
Not being a fan of Catherine Cookson, I was a little dismayed when the publisher’s details proclaimed this book to have been written by the ‘Catherine Cookson of the North East’. That being said, I must confess to having enjoyed this book more than I expected. The novel is set in Hull in 1852 and opens with the chance meeting of a poor boy, Mikey, and a rich lawyer’s daughter, Eleanor, when Mikey is arrested for stealing a rabbit to help feed his hungry family. Mikey decides to seek his fortune in London and together, with other waifs and strays, he makes the long journey on foot. Some years later, he meets up again with Eleanor and they end up fulfilling the title of the book together by walking back to Hull. I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the romantic ending. The characters are somewhat one-dimensional and the good-hearted poor willing to share their last slice of bread with the hungry protagonists are thick on the ground, which is perhaps rather unlikely.
Basically, it does what it says on the tin. It is an entertaining cosy light read with a kind-hearted benevolent heroine and an equally good, honest and generous hero. The historical setting is conveyed to some degree through the descriptions of the conditions for the poor and an at times annoying local accent. This is the fourteenth novel by Valerie Wood. It isn’t a novel for me, but readers who are already fans, and I am sure there are many, will be very satisfied with this new addition. Fans of Catherine Cookson would indeed also be happy with this novel.