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The House Of Women

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Emma Funnell is the matriarch of Bramble House, built for her as a wedding gift. Now, in 1968, she is in her seventies, with the avowed intent of living to be a hundred. And, as she has always done, she continues to rule the roost, for apart from herself three generations of the Funnell family live in the house - all of them women. There is widowed daughter Vict Emma Funnell is the matriarch of Bramble House, built for her as a wedding gift. Now, in 1968, she is in her seventies, with the avowed intent of living to be a hundred. And, as she has always done, she continues to rule the roost, for apart from herself three generations of the Funnell family live in the house - all of them women. There is widowed daughter Victoria, increasingly a hypochondriac; granddaughter Lizzie, who bears the brunt of running the house, as well as enduring a loveless marriage to Len Hammond; and Peggy, her sixteen-year-old daughter, now trying to find the courage to drop the bomb-shell of her pregnancy into their midst. This explosive situation provides the springboard for a powerful and absorbing novel that explores, over a period of fifteen years, all that fate holds in store for the dwellers in the house of women, reaching its climax with a frank confrontation of a major social issue of today.


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Emma Funnell is the matriarch of Bramble House, built for her as a wedding gift. Now, in 1968, she is in her seventies, with the avowed intent of living to be a hundred. And, as she has always done, she continues to rule the roost, for apart from herself three generations of the Funnell family live in the house - all of them women. There is widowed daughter Vict Emma Funnell is the matriarch of Bramble House, built for her as a wedding gift. Now, in 1968, she is in her seventies, with the avowed intent of living to be a hundred. And, as she has always done, she continues to rule the roost, for apart from herself three generations of the Funnell family live in the house - all of them women. There is widowed daughter Victoria, increasingly a hypochondriac; granddaughter Lizzie, who bears the brunt of running the house, as well as enduring a loveless marriage to Len Hammond; and Peggy, her sixteen-year-old daughter, now trying to find the courage to drop the bomb-shell of her pregnancy into their midst. This explosive situation provides the springboard for a powerful and absorbing novel that explores, over a period of fifteen years, all that fate holds in store for the dwellers in the house of women, reaching its climax with a frank confrontation of a major social issue of today.

30 review for The House Of Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    Really enjoyed reading this book. Storytelling at it's best. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mookie

    YIKES! So many yikes! Daddy loving on the daughter. Granny cooing for the great-grandson-in-law. 26 year old doctor proposing to the 15 year old teenager... ... Ick. I'm icked out by the characters, and I'm a little icked out by Cookson's normalization of the adult/teenager relationship (as seen in other books as well). This is not to say I hate this book - it was an absorbing read and kudos to Cookson for trying some new ideas outside of her usual formulas. BUT. Frig. I'm YIKES! So many yikes! Daddy loving on the daughter. Granny cooing for the great-grandson-in-law. 26 year old doctor proposing to the 15 year old teenager... ... Ick. I'm icked out by the characters, and I'm a little icked out by Cookson's normalization of the adult/teenager relationship (as seen in other books as well). This is not to say I hate this book - it was an absorbing read and kudos to Cookson for trying some new ideas outside of her usual formulas. BUT. Frig. I'm sure this book is constrained by the viewpoints of the time and all, but that doctor is a predator. She's FIFTEEN. AHHHH. But hey, it's 2018, I can judge things now. It was hard to like this book because I didn't like anyone. Apart from each other, all the characters were their own protagonists and at the root, good people. Together, they were the worst versions of themselves. Maybe Cookson is saying something about family dynamic. Families bring out the worst in each other? None of the romantic interests were appealing. The one thing I tend to dislike about Cookson's books is the habit of settling for the least crazy guy in the neighbourhood. In almost every Cookson book there is a toxic family- and here I think I've met my limit. It was hard to trudge through this book. Reliving a whole new generation of misery. The themes touch on hypocrisy, possessiveness, and the cyclical patterns generations that keep repeating based on mistakes from the past one. She provides no hope for the characters. What's the point? Slave away and earn an inheritance, or run away to be free but then also get called selfish. The book really does poke an eye at hypocrisy, but Cookson also makes hypocrites out of the points she's trying to make. Was this on purpose? Is she upset at women, or is she upset for them? Len is an asshole, until he isn't. Lizzie is pitiable, until she's a bitter shrew. Victoria is unbearable, until she's Peggy's fairy godmother. Characters come and go, and for what purpose. Such a hodge-podge here. I don't know what to think or feel towards anyone. Maybe that's the point. Maybe this is just a critical lens on society at the time, about how sometimes our hands are tied even when we're staring at the door to our escape. Thrift store buy, it's going back to the Salvation Army. An entertaining read, and did make me gasp out loud with some icky/shocking moments, but overall a bit of a bummer. (Also, methinks Cookson might have grown up with an alpha woman in her household - domineering women tend to be a repeated character in her stories).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zaarah

    This book portays different types of women from different eras and definitely their thoughts are different from each other. It has also emphasized on some crucial social issues that are still affecting lives of several women even today. Pretty good storyline, however, as several issues have been addressed at the same time, created a dreary read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Maybe 2 1/2 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dagny

    One of her best.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This felt a little rushed - like it should have been one of those multi hundred page epics that used to be everywhere. Also, everyone in this book was miserable except the matriarch.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    Three generations of women live in Bramble House: Emma Funnell (great grandma), Victoria (grandma) and Lissie (mother). When daughter Peggy becomes pregnant at fourteen, she is forced to marry the father Andrew Jones, which turns out to be a big mistake. A lesson for parents who seek to rule their children's lives and never let them grow up, make their own decisions and accept responsibility for their actions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Powell

    Another wonderful story from this author where we follow several generations of women who all have distinct characters - some good some not so good and yet we see more than one side of each of them. Not all the men involved are seen in a favourable light, which creates a wonderful tension throughout the book. Well written as always with a deceptively easy style - highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lili

    I read all of Catherine Cookson's books some years ago and enjoyed them immensley. I recently re-read all of them and find that on a second look I found them all so very predictable, and was rather disappointed. However I'm sure that it is my tastes that have changed not the calibre of her story telling.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carley

    This book is one of my favourite books of all time. I absolutely love it. I feel like I was one of the repressed women in the household. The twists and turns in the book were brilliant. So different to a lot of the Catherine Cookson books I have read. An overall somber mood to the book but with a kind of happy ending...depending on how you look at it I suppose.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbra

    A fair book by this author. Back Cover Blurb: Bramble house contained a matriachal empire headed by Emma Funnell. The house had been built for her as a wedding gift by Patrick and, now in her 70's, Emma continues to keep the firmest control of the domestic affairs of the three generations of the Funnell family, all women, living in the house.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The House of Women tells the tale of five generations of women living in one house. The house is run by the domineering great-grandmother Emma, whose decisions have an impact on each of the generations. I was not a fan of this book, and wouldn't recommend it. To me, it handles the subject of pedophilia terribly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gudrun

    utter crap :-p Maar ik heb het wel met plezier gelezen. Heel licht dingetje over vier generaties vrouwen in hetzelfde huis.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    Nice fast read and never disappointed when I find one of hers

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lilly

    I really didn't like this book at all. Unlike most of Cooksons books I didn't connect with any of the characters, all seemed unlikable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Enkh-orchlon

    was good

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fred Ann

    Lovely four generations of women in a house. Two disasterous marriage to the worst kind of vain, arrogant men. A good read... All conflicts resolved at the conclusion.

  18. 4 out of 5

    I Read

    Not bad but nothing special.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judith Wrinkle

    always love Cookson. One of my favorite authors.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheryll Butters

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Always love Catherine Cookson :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda Underwood

    Interesting book about several generations of women and how their domineering matriarch controls them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Caton

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julie L

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wendie Harrington

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jossie Marie Solheim

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sandra "Jeanz"

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