Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Catherine Cookson Riley Book Review

Catherine Cookson Riley (1998) Book Review

Many years ago, I parted with most of my Catherine Cookson books, retaining only the few that I had not read, like the one shown here called Riley. It had been decades since I had picked up any of Cookson's books but I remember fondly having loved the stories, which are set in the 19th century in and around what was then at least a heavily industrialized area of northeast England called Tyneside. 

With the arrival in 2020 of the virus that would lock down most of the world, I set to reading through some of my old piles of books and hence returned to the works of Catherine Cookson via this novel, Riley. 


Riley was indeed very good and it did not in any way fail my memories of Cookson’s books. It is the story of a young lad with no direction who was surely bound for trouble but was indirectly 'rescued’ by a few heated comments from a caring teacher. The result of those comments was a tumultuous but successful life on the stage and marriage to a woman 20 years his elder. 

Riley is Highly Recommended by me for anyone who loves historical fiction.


Author Catherine Cookson, despite being from an extremely poor, working class home in Tyneside, England, went on to become one of the richest women in Britain. More importantly in my mind at least, she also went on to become Britain’s most read author in the mid-1990s and remains on the list of the twenty most read British novelists. She wrote a remarkable two books a year in many years and, when she died in 1998, she left behind 103 novels and a fortune for charity. 


Catherine Cookson's novels were often categorized as romance despite the fact that, as Cookson said herself, there was nothing romantic about the times or the situations in her books. Her stories offered up more than historical romance and are extremely well done in terms of depicting a time period in history, which would surely make them qualify as historical fiction today. 

I do not want to stop with recommending Riley, however. I want to make my post a call for people to pick up Catherine Cookson’s books whether they knew her before they arrived here on this page or not. It doesn’t matter which book you start with whether it be Riley or another, they are all sure to please. Just be careful if you start with a series like Mary Ann Shaughnessy, Tilly Trotter or the Bailey Chronicles that you pick the first one.  You will find Riley on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!

Quick Links

Buy Riley on Amazon.

Discover the new, used and vintage books in my eBay store by clicking here but be warned that unfortunately there are no Catherine Cookson novels!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn reviewed. 
Fast Girls by Elise Hooper reviewed. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Always enjoy your reading recommendations, Brenda. I think I remember the name of the author, Catherine Cookson, but cannot recall if I have ever read any of her books. She was obviously a very prolific writer, to have left behind 103 novels. Rather like Ed McBain (122) and John D. MacDonald (~100) in the Detective Fiction genres. I look forward to checking out either Riley or another of Catherine Cookson's books.

  2. I have not read Catherine Cookson, but she sounds like an author I'd like. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Oh I love Catherine Cookson books and I have not read this one yet. Okay moving over to my "must read" list and adding this one to that growing list. Thanks for another great review and another book to read!

  4. Thanks for your visits friends! Mary Beth and Pat, I hope you enjoy Catherine Cookson if one does make it to the top of your reading lists and Olivia, I am glad you agree. I will definitely be revisiting some of Cookson's works after my reunion with the author.

  5. I have never read a Cookson book, but I do love historical fiction. I have known couples who have a wide range in age that are perfectly happy with each other, but not quickly accepted by peers. That is always a challenging situation in many ways. Since you have recommended it, I am sure this is an excellent book.

  6. I, too, have not yet read any Cookson novels yet. But as a lover of historical fiction, and based on your enthusiastic recommendation, I plan to try one of her series. Thanks so much for introducing me to her work!

  7. Wow, what a life. I had no idea who this author was. I'm not a fiction reader, but all of these book reviews on this site has me rethinking that!

  8. If you do read one of Catherine Cookson's books, be sure to report back, Barbara!

  9. Oh I haven't read Catherine Cookson in decades! She was my gran's favourite author and as I lived with my gran for nine months as a teen I went through a lot of them. Her characters were fantastic, but I don't remember this particular book.

  10. I enjoyed the book but got toward the end of the book and it ended mid sentence. I can’t find it at the library so I missed the last several pages. I’m very sad about that.


Most Recent Reviews on Review This Reviews

Search for Reviews by Subject, Author or Title

The Review This Reviews Contributors

SylvestermouseSylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMbgPhotoMbgPhotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaThe Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieLou16Lou16Sam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerRenaissance WomanRenaissance WomanBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecorating for EventsDecorating for EventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G


Review This Reviews is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten

“As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and or Etsy (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement