Even the approach to Christmas fails to excite restless Agnes Conway, the twenty-two-year-old manager of the sweet and tobacconist shops owned by her feckless father. There are dark secrets in Arthur Conway's past, and these come tragically to light when Agnes's younger sister falls pregnant by one of the notorious Felton brothers. And Agnes herself has a secret, which she knows she must keep from her father- her relationship with Charles Farrier, son of a local landowner, who outrages his own wealthy, pious family by proposing marriage. owever Charles is not the only man who could shape Agnes's future, as his brother Reginald makes no secret of his admiration for her. But she could not have foreseen how significant a part he is to play in her destiny... he Wingless Bird is an absorbing story of love and the harsh realities of Britain's class system.
Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school master. Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer - her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling novels established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1997. For many years she lived near Newcastle upon Tyne. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998.