Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

genre: young adult

Victorian England, it brings to mind horse-drawn coaches, giant hoop skirts and Charles Dickens-esque romantic adventures. In Fallen Grace, we are introduced to another facet of Victorian life, two facets, really. The life of the absolutely downtrodden poor and the culture and customs of mourning and funerals.

When we meet Grace, she is on a miserable errand. She and her older (but clearly disabled) sister Lily are orphaned and very much on their own. Selling whatever they can manage on the streets is barely enough to feed themselves and soon they find themselves desperate enough to do anything to stay out of the workhouse.

Intriguing, huh?

Grace is such a humble character, so clearly worn down by life for a fifteen year old - but gracious and protective of her sister. The time period is absolutely dripping from the pages, I felt like I was there and I really liked seeing both sides of the social ladder. Your heart just aches for all these poor people who are willing to work so hard if only there was work for them to do. The whole "mourning" enterprise and the economics of funerals, the show of it all, that was fascinating. I also liked that each chapter began with a little snippet of newsprint or an advertisement from the era.

I guess I'm gushing. I just felt like this was a really interesting read from a different perspective than other young adult historical fiction I've picked up. Even without any kind of heady romantic storyline, this was a great read.


bermudaonion said...

Boy does that sound good! So often, people romanticize that time period when in reality it was harsh for most people.

heavenisabookstore said...

Sounds like a very fun and different book.

Melissa said...

This has been sitting on my TBR pile for months. I should probably dust it off and give it a whirl... it sounds good.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...