Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fallen Grace

Fallen Grace - Mary Hooper
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.

This book is very different from the books I usually read. The beautiful cover is was drew me to the read the blurb which then convinced me to buy the book and I am very glad it did because I surprisingly loved it. Fallen Grace is not the type of book I would usually read, as it is old fashioned and more adult than some books I have read, but it showed me that I can venture outside of my little YA supernatural genre section and into the big bad world of various genres! Which is good, because else I might start believing people can turn into werewolves.
Fallen Grace is set in London in a time when people pick pocketed and lived by selling stuff on the street. We find ourselves sympathizing for Grace, the main character, as at the start of the book she looses her child in labor. As the story unwinds we sympathize more when we discover how she became pregnant and who with and start to understand how hard it would be to live in that time let alone as a young teenage orphan. We follow as Grace and her dear sister struggle to survive, they even have to pawn their most loved possessions and sell things like blankets to eat dinner some nights. A lesson can be learnt within these pages to appreciate the things we take for granted everyday like our parents looking after us and having a hot home cooked meal on the table every night.
Although the story line is completely different if you have ever read Jane Eagland's Whisper my Name, which is also set in England in the past, I'm sure you will enjoy this book too.
Mary Hooper has done a fantastic job recreating the past and telling such a heartbreaking story.

Characters: Grace is a very sweet young girl who wants nothing more but to help her and her sister get by, it is easy to find ourselves sympathising for her and all that she has been through when she is only young.
Grace's sister is a little 'simple', which makes Graces life a whole lot harder, but even though she does things wrong it is hard to blame her for it.
The rest of the characters are not-loveable ones, but that's is because we are not supposed to like them, since they all seem to make Graces a misery.
Except for the one man who helps Grace, he is sweet and kind - but for the life of me I can't remember any more of their names, sorry! I read this in the read-a-thon about two weeks ago and stories stick but names don't!

On that note, I apologise for the late review!
Overall I would give Fallen Grace a 4/5! Worth reading!


1 comment:

  1. Hmmm this one sounds really really interesting! I may have to consider reading it!