Catherine Cooksonathon II – The Blind Years
You know when you don’t watch Neighbours for a while, and they one day you think, ‘I reet fancy a bit of Neighbours’ and so you stick it on and suddenly Sky’s pregnant and Harold’s dead and the world has exploded and Ramsey Street has been taken over by Channel 5? That’s what starting this book felt like.
You are vomited into a story full of drama and heartache, and it took me a good five ‘you what?’s to figure out what the hell was going on and who everybody was. The back story, such as there is, isn’t really gone into until chapter two by which point I was too busy enjoying the ridiculousness of the characters and the plot to care.
Bridget (think a more insipid Second Mrs De Winter) is about to marry Laurence, who she has loved since year dot. Laurence is clearly a Massive Twat who gets annoyed that Bridget doesn’t kiss him right and physically scares her. Unfortunately Bridget is so fucking wet she can’t see the blindingly obvious fact that Laurence and his shamming mother Aunt Sarah (her mother’s step sister, I think) are using her for her money.
Laurence is also banging the sexy neighbour, which all comes out when Bridget is assaulted by the drunken neighbour, who loved her all along and only wanted to tell her he’d seen Laurence and Sexy Neighbour doing Bad Things in Marlow’s Copse. John, Bridget’s cousin (I think…) and her G-Ma turn up to sort everything out when Laurence (dum dum DUUUUUM) is shot and his body found in the woods.
What follows is just ridiculous and silly and obviously Bridget and John (who has also loved her since she was a child, a worrying precedent in romantic fiction- I’m waiting for my friend’s older brothers to come crawling out of the woodwork at this point) get together at the end, because she decides that she will love him after going for a walk. Yup. She goes for a walk and decides she wants to marry him. Because that’s a sensible way of making life changing decisions, isn’t it?
This is only my second Cookson, and it was published after her death so I’m guessing this isn’t one of her best. At times its basically Midsommer Murders, in fact it would make a great Midsommer Murder and I’m going to write to ITV and suggest it. I am seeing a couple of repetitive factors that I’m thinking of including on Cookson-Bingo. The being in love with someone since they were a child (how? how? they’re a child! People change a fair bit in turning into not-children!) that I’ve already mentioned, and the heroine having ‘something about her’ that no one can really explain except it draws men like moths. If this is cracking eyebrows and a not-bad rack I’m well sorted, but seeing as the last two heroines have been petite and pretty I’m guessing that it isn’t…
Not a great book, really short but hard to read owing to weirdly starting in middle of story with no explanation as to what the hell is going on. Die-Hard fans only, me thinks.