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04 March 2011


AUTHOR: Mary Hooper
IMPRINT: Bloomsbury Publishing, PLC

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.

FALLEN GRACE description and cover art courtesy of Goodreads.

I received an ARC of FALLEN GRACE from the book publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

Two sisters struggle to survive hard times in FALLEN GRACE, where promises of better life exposes the seedy underbelly of the funeral trade.

What first drew me to FALLEN GRACE was the historical aspect of the story. I love history and historical fiction and FALLEN GRACE had an interesting hook with the exploration of the funeral trade in Victorian London. Mary Hooper must have done extensive research prior to writing FALLEN GRACE and this shows in the detailed scenes she has written. This attention to detail was a large part of why I enjoyed FALLEN GRACE. It brought a real quality to the story and made the characters seem like real people who (would have) existed during that time period.

The beginning of FALLEN GRACE got my attention immediately. I felt for Grace's plight and wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen to her and her sister. I thought that author Mary Hooper did a wonderful job of creating the relationship between Grace and Lily. Despite Grace's sometimes resentment of having to take care of her mentally challenged sister, it was obvious she loved her and would do anything to keep her safe. And Lily tried so hard to please Grace and prove that she could take care of herself that it broke my heart everytime she was taken advantage of.

Fallen GRACE is a story of survival and hardship. It's a story of two sisters trying to live a day to day existence, with only each other to lean on. It's also a story of a fraud perpetrated against one of the sister's. But throughout all this, it's a story of hope. That one day the sisters will overcome their odds and have a happier life. That they will discover their true inheritance and be able to not just survive, but live.

I would recommend this book to any readers interested in historical fiction. Not only is the story itself great, but the descriptions of places and events are well written and really immersed me in the culture of the Victorian era.


Click here to purchase FALLEN GRACE from The Book Depository.

To learn more about Mary Hooper and FALLEN GRACE, visit her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page.


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