Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

I must admit to being a big Mary Hooper fan and I’ve been hooked ever since I read Newes from the Dead.  She is a fabulous story teller and as a writer of historical fiction she really immerses the reader in the sights, smells and sounds of each historical period.

It is London, 1861 and our heroine, fifteen year old Grace Parkes, is embarking on the sinister sounding Necropolis Railway to hopefully bury a secret which will never be unearthed.  However, this burial is ironically the catalyst for the birth of a myriad of new challenges facing Grace and her vulnerable sister Lily who have been recently orphaned.  When their lodgings in the slums of Seven Dials are marked for demolition, they are made homeless and forced to seek employment with the Unwins, a disreputable family who seem to have cornered the market in funeral provision. Grace is employed as a mute, her particularly sad visage being much in demand whilst Lily is destined to be a lady’s maid, a decision which leaves Grace bewildered but do not worry – all will be revealed in good time!

Yes, this is a novel targeted at young teens but if you appreciate evocative writing, all things Victorian and Gothic, vividly presented characters you will be well rewarded.  I loved the insight into the Victorian fascination with death and mourning especially following the death of Prince Albert.  Even Charles Dickens puts in an appearance, how can you resist!   I’m anxiously awaiting Mary Hooper’s next novel which will be about Victorian Spirtualism – heaven on earth! ;-)

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