Book Review: Fallen Grace by 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.

Fallen Grace is a historical fiction novel set in London in 1861. It seems like a well researched novel sharing many details of life at that time especially for those in mourning from the death of a loved one. It was very predictable, almost diappointingly so, up until the last few pages. There was a twist at the end that I hadn’t seen coming and was grateful for.

Despite the predictablity I really enjoyed this story. I like the characters and the details of the time period. A nice touch was at the beginning of most chapters there is a clip from a newspaper, an advertisement, invitation, epitaph from a tombstone that ties in to the story.

Recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction.

Content: Clean read

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Publisher for Review