cover image The Moth

The Moth

Catherine Cookson. Summit Books, $17.45 (293pp) ISBN 978-0-671-44076-3

In the English county of Durham prior to World War I, marrying out of one's class is social suicide. But a remarkable man named Robert Bradley bucks the establishment. A carpenter by trade but self-educated and sensitive, Robert escapes conventional marriage, but in so doing falls prey to violence. A chance encounter with Millie, the strange daughter of the castle, brings him into the orbit of the crumbling Thormans. Millie, dubbed ""The Moth'' by the locals because of her flitting escapades, ruins her elder sister Agnes's chances at a suitable marriage. When Agnes, shouldering the crumbling family fortunes alone, finds in Robert a source not only of commonsense but of love, the two of them defy convention. Cookson's (The Bannaman Legacy evocation of a class distinction supported even by its victims is compelling. First serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (May)