Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Fallen GraceGrace and her sister Lily are among the most poor in Victorian London, struggling to survive day to day. After having a bad experience in a home for girls, they are determined to avoid ending up in a workhouse. A series of completely unfortunate events befall them, however, and they find themselves more and more desperate. When a local funeral and mourning company offers to give them employment, Grace sees it as a kind of charity and doesn't probe beneath the surface to discover what ulterior motives might exist.

Fallen Grace is a lot different from I think of most YA as being--it focuses on Grace and Lily and they are both very poor. Also it's very much historical fiction. Hooper really manages to get you to sympathize with the characters quite early--there's a scene where Lily is being swindled that just made me so uncomfortable to read. I hate reading about characters making obviously poor decisions that will cost them in the long run. It's hard not to care for Grace who is so deeply burdened with trying to protect and care for her sister and herself as well, and who is taken advantage of at every turn.

The story is very engaging and the setting quite lively. I couldn't help but feel the same sort of desperation as Grace and Lily and hope that things would take a turn for the better. And while times do indeed get quite dark, they certainly don't stay that way forever. Recommended for fans of historical fiction and books like The Good Thief.

Rating: 4.5/5
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: Bloomsbury


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