A House DividedBook - 1999
Blinded during the Second World War, Matthew Wallingham, a decorated war hero, feels he is faced with a grim future. Lying in his hospital bed, he imagines his life as an invalid and falls into a depression that neither his friends nor his family can coax him out of. His nurse, Elizabeth Duckworth, becomes his saving grace -- her gentleness, warmth, and compassion bring new vitality to Matthew's heart.
In the meantime, the effects of the war are too keenly felt throughout Britain. Shortages of food and ramshackle buildings are commonplace as Matthew and the other soldiers return to their homes, families, and workplaces. The people of Britain are adjusting to the reality of postwar austerity and attempting to return to their mode of life prior to the war.
Matthew is faced with a new set of problems upon returning home. His mother is suffering due to his father's illness, and his younger brother, who successfully managed the family farm during the war, resents Matthew, who thinks that he will now comanage the farm. Matthew's grandmother is the only person who he feels listens to him, but the rest of the family regards her as the bane of their existence.
Soon Matthew finds that all of his thoughts are focused on Elizabeth. Attempts to carry out his plans to find work have left him frustrated, and Elizabeth becomes his only hope for a happy future. However, Elizabeth, from a less-than-privileged family, is not the woman Matthew's parents will consent to him marrying, and she has a secret that will inevitably bring horrifying violence to the Wallingham clan.
This wonderful novel again illustrates the enormous talents of Catherine Cookson and clearly will thrill her legions of devoted readers.