Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Book: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Pages: 309 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsberry
Date Released: February 1, 2011
Source: Publisher
Grade: B+
 Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.

My Thoughts:
Fallen Grace is the first book I’ve ever read by Mary Hooper and I must say that I did enjoy it.
The story follows young, poor Grace Parkes who has just given birth to a stillborn baby boy and her older, yet simple-minded, sister Lily as they try to survive. To me, Grace was quite the extraordinary girl because she got raped and then gave birth to a dead baby and yet managed to keep her and her sister fed and sheltered. Lily on the other hand reminded me of my little sister. She was really slow to get things and didn’t have a lot of common sense (no offense sissy).
This was one of those unique stories where I found myself actually wanting the protagonists to succeed (you know that feeling you get when the bad girl/boy does terrible stuff to get what they want and they almost end up getting it?). I mean, I seriously hated the Unwins. They were downright mean and obnoxious and I believe that they got what they deserved in the end. The end! The end was fantastic; it was one of those happy endings that leave you contempt and fuzzy inside.
Mary Hooper is a wonderful author and I can’t wait to read some more of her works. If you like Historical fiction, add this one to your to-read list!
Grade: B+

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