Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fallen Grace - Mary Hooper

I loved this young adult read, and will definitely be looking out for more books by Mary Hooper. Set in 1861 and featuring young Grace, and her sister Lily, who Grace looks after, as despite being the younger of the two in age, Grace is more worldly-wise than the sweet but more na├»ve Lily. Forced through circumstances which are revealed in the novel to leave the orphanage where they had future plans, they live in poverty and scratch out a meagre amount of money buying and selling watercress, though the proceeds of this barely keeps them in food and rent. At the start of the novel, we meet poor Grace as she is in the process of carrying out a tragic act, and at her destination she meets two people who will come to play very different but equally influential roles in her life, Mr  Solent and Mrs Unwin.

It’s a cracking story, an exciting plot, with cruel villains, a very likeable heroine and some amiable kindly folk too. The atmosphere and period setting is evoked beautifully, there’s even a mention for a certain Mr Dickens and for Prince Albert. I felt I was transported back to Victorian times as I was reading. I was rooting for kind, hard-working Grace, hoping that her fortunes would change and that justice would be done. The descriptions of the fascination with mourning, and the elaborate graveyard decorations of the period are very vivid. I loved discovering the Necropolis railway and Brookwood cemetery, all very dark and mysterious. A recommended read.


  1. I love books set in the 1800s... if I could time travel, I'd probably go there. *sigh* all those romantic dresses, dashing men and carriage rides and tea! errr... not the point really, sorry! But thanks for sharing Fallen Grace! Sounds good!

  2. I love Mary Hooper, Lindsay, and I think you'll really enjoy her latest, Velvet! :-)

  3. I am seeing so many positive reviews of Mary Hooper books at the moment, this one sounds great too. I really want to read At The Sign of the Sugared Plum.

  4. Great review! I love historical novels
    Awesome blog, too.. I'm now a follower :)
    Kristy @

  5. Thanks Toni :)
    Treez I thought this was so well written, I have looked up Velvet and definitely fancy it, thanks! :)
    Sam it's a really good read.
    Thanks Kristy and thanks for following :)

  6. I love historical fiction books. This one sounds good. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I loved this book! =) I will also be looking out for more books by Mary. She is great!


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