Monday, February 28, 2011

Fallen Grace ~ Mary Hooper ARC review

Fallen Grace
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
February 1, 2011
320 pages
Amazon for buying/more info


Grace Parkes is able to keep herself and her sister fed and housed--but just barely--by selling watercresses in the streets of London. Grace and her older sister, Lily, a 'simple' girl were orphaned a decade ago when their mother died and have been handed one trouble after another since then. Now, pregnant by less than pleasant circumstances Grace has given birth to a a stillborn baby.

It is what happens next, while Grace is following the midwife's advice to find a rich person's coffin to place her baby's body in (to avoid it being put in a pauper's grave) that will bring more to the girls' lives than they ever dreamed. Good and bad alike.


Fallen Grace was so much more than I had expected. I wanted to read it because I very much enjoy historical fiction and the time period and little bit of the plot I knew appealed to me. I ended up absolutely loving it.

Along with giving you readers a fantastic sense of Victorian London and what the time would have been like for someone who was not a wealthy upper-class woman, Mary Hooper's latest novel is full of quirky little details that readers likely would not know otherwise.

Grace and her sister Lily are both incredibly endearing and, thanks to chapters told from each girl's perspective, the reader feels an almost immediate connection with them--and their connection with each other. It's obvious how much the sisters care for each other and adds another enjoyable layer to the story.

Something I really didn't expect from Fallen Grace was the suspense, the incredible suspense.

Fallen Grace is the absolute best kind of historical fiction: the kind that works in interesting facts (and not just the large ones, but the little ones that actually are fun to know), gives you a marker of an actual historical event (if it's not about a major historical figure), all while involving characters and a plot that really draw readers in and get them hooked right from page one.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of not only Mary Hooper's past books, but also her future ones as well!


Author Interview with Mary Hooper:

What prompted writing your first historical fiction novel?
I had covered most problems that beset modern teenagers, and couldn't think what I was going to write about next. Then I came upon some material concerning the Great Plague in London (1665) and found it so fascinating I wanted to set a book during that period. Once I had started on historicals, they were so much more exciting to write than modern stuff that I decided that I would never write another modern story again. No Facebook, no iPods, no Blackberries, no Tablets! Instead, highwaymen, midwives, funeral mutes and searchers of the dead.

Do you think you'll ever write about more modern time periods (closer to modern times, but still historical fiction)?
I might get as close as World War II, but nothing newer than that.

If you could travel anywhere and to anytime in the world, where would it be?
Restoration London. But I'd have to be rich!

Are there any historical figure or time periods you particularly like reading about?
Every era has its own fascinations.

Is there any YA historical fiction that you think people should know about and be reading
There are lots of great YA historical fiction titles out there now. Let's get away from vampires and get real!

Thank you, Mary, for the interview!

Huge thank you to Kate at Bloomsbury for sending me the book for review--and setting up the interview!!

1 comment:

  1. I would love to read 'Fallen Grace". What could be better than a historical fiction book that has suspense. I would love learning about the place and time at the same time.



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