Annabella Lagrange had the kind of childhood that most can only dream about. The only child of an aristocratic couple, raised on their magnificent estate in the English countryside, she was loved by her parents and coddled by servants who acquiesced to her every whim. She was allowed to do anything she wanted, except, of course, to stray too far from her wing of the house. But her seclusion didn't concern her too much, because when she grew up, she planned to marry her handsome cousin Stephen and live happily ever after. However, on the morning of her tenth birthday, Annabella ventured farther than she'd ever gone before. Overcome with curiosity, she opened a forbidden door that led into her father's private quarters, and what she found there showed her with shocking clarity that her father was not the man she thought he was. And though she couldn't know it at the time, the events of that day set in motion the uncovering of a secret that had been kept for many years. So begins the remarkable story of Annabella Lagrange, a sensitive, beautiful young woman who was raised as a lady. But when she turns eighteen, she learns the surprising circumstances of her birth, and her entire world quietly crashes around her. Suddenly she's forced from the genteel surroundings of her youth into the rough, lower-class society of Victorian England, where only her quick wit and determination can save her from starvation. Catherine Cookson was one of the world's most beloved writers, and in The Glass Virgin her powers are at their height. Rarely has a heroine been portrayed more sensitively or a situation more compellingly. Filled with passion and drama, The Glass Virgin is a rare treat for lovers of romantic fiction.
Catherine Cookson lived in Northumberland, England, the setting of many of her international bestsellers. Born in Tyne Dock, she was the illegitimate daughter of an impoverished woman, Kate, whom she was raised to believe was her older sister. She began to work in the civil service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married a local grammar school master. Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer, in 1968 her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award, her readership quickly spread worldwide, and her many bestselling novels established her as one of the most popular contemporary authors. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998, having completed 104 works.