Read Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper Online


Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignGrace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.Watch the video trailer at

Title : Fallen Grace
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780747599135
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Fallen Grace Reviews

  • Nomes
    2019-03-16 19:51

    The tale has a Dickensian feel to it: the plot manages to weave it's way through street urchin-type life, to the lives of the incredibly posh upper class folks of the day.While the story is constantly unravelling (the plot is quite pacy and from one chapter to the next a lot of things seem to go down) it still doesn't read like a tension-filled adventure-y read. It's a story you have to relax and settle yourself into. It *kind of* reminded me of some of Jeffrey Archer's tales ~ how he weaves characters paths across each other, fortunes shifting and foreshadowing is used to heightened effect. There's a mix of suspense ~ sometimes the reader is clued in to details the characters don't know (which is all very 'O.o can't wait to see what happens when they find out' and 'hurry up and find out already') and other times we are taken along for the ride, kept in the dark.Despite the (multitude of) horrendous and sorrowful things that occurred to our (spirited and enduring) protagonists ~ the story did not feel all grief-y and drowning-in-my-sorrows. It was actually a fun kind of read, like settling into a storyteller of old around a campfire and drifting away into another time and era.Oh! Final note: I liked the random stuff in there (eg: like Grace becoming a muse ~ someone employed to attend funerals, doning a sorrowful and haunting manner to add to the atmosphere of the graveside service O.o ~ creepy [but cool]). There's plenty of random asides that add authenticity and are ever-so-curious.

  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    2019-02-26 21:14

    5 Words: Tragic, fortunate, historical, destitute, scheming.I haven't read Mary Hooper in a long time, perhaps since high school, but when I saw this in the library I though "why not?" and picked it up.This was a great, easy read. I could turn page after page without having to think too much, but I did still empathise with Grace and Lily, and I wanted to cry at the injustice of it all. I liked the character of Grace, how grounded and practical and strong she was, and I really enjoyed reading her.It was so tragic, one thing after another. But it was so compelling and real that it was never too much. This book was tragic and heartbreaking, with a little bit of light relief (a very little bit!) to stop it becoming too much.I liked the ending, anything different wouldn't have worked despite the predictability.

  • Vicki
    2019-03-09 16:03

    I love a good historical fiction now and then, in particular from the Victorian era, and so was extremely excited about reading this book. I wasn't disappointed. Fallen Grace is a rags to riches tale of the very best kind and filled with the characters that make this kind of book so compelling. There's tragic Grace, poverty stricken and badly treat yet hard working, kind and fiercely loyal; the detestable Unwin family, rich, cruel and conniving and the handsome young solicitor Mr James Solent, champion of the underdog. It reminds me a little of those saga's I would steal from my Mum's bookshelves years ago. I did love reading those books but often found them too long, spanning such a lengthy time period I would get bored or frustrated at yet another tragedy for the poor heroine. Covering just a year in Fifteen year old Grace's life, Mary Hooper's latest book doesn't suffer this problem. It has everything needed for a deliciously juicy saga, but the story is contained and my attention was captured throughout the 300 pages. I loved our heroine, Grace. She is tragic enough to gain sympathy but strong enough not to become pitying. Orphaned young and left to take care of her disabled older sister, despite the awful situation she finds herself in she remains loyal and loving. Her sister Lily is adorable. A young child in the body of a young woman, her simplistic naivety at the world is touching; although of course in the surrounding London slums, dangerous and extremely trying too. The other characters in the book are also extremely vivid, no matter how small their part and all of them were brought to life in my mind. I could almost see the book playing out as one of those fabulous Sunday evening TV drama adaptations as I read. The setting of the book is described with such detail that while reading I felt transported to 19th century England. With a backdrop of the highly prosperous and opulent Victorian funeral industry the story is deliciously sinister and macabre, without being overly gruesome. While I knew that Queen Victoria took her mourning of Prince Albert extremely seriously, never again wearing anything but black, I didn't know just how many rituals and rules of etiquette there were surrounding mourning dress. It was fascinating! As well, there are all the extravagant trimmings to ensure you give your loved one the most fashionable of send off's, disguised as being 'respectful and proper' although largely made up by the Funeral industry itself to further enhance their wealth. It's ironic that such fortunes were spent to bury the wealthy and aristocratic deceased, while the living poor suffered so terribly, having nothing to eat, no where to sleep and often working hours without shoes or warm clothes for a pittance. The contrast between the two is shocking. The amount of research Mary Hooper must have undertook to write this book is clear, and it pays off as the book is extremely interesting as well as being a fantastic read. I thoroughly enjoyed Fallen Grace. The historical detail and the bizarre Funeral industry setting make it an original, interesting and sinister read. With character's leaping from the pages and descriptions that will take you right to the heart of Victorian London, it's a book to curl up cosy with and savour every last bit. There are some difficult themes such as rape and abuse, although neither in graphic detail (it happens before the book begins and so is mentioned but not described) and I think this book would appeal to fans of historical fiction of any age from age 12+ or for anyone with an interest in this period of history. This is the first book by Mary Hooper I have read, but I'm certain it won't be the last.

  • Cindy
    2019-03-13 16:12

    This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.3.5/5Orphaned at a young age, Grace and Lily Parkes barely scrape by living off of the revenue from their watercress-selling operation. When Grace -- barely sixteen herself -- gives birth to a stillborn baby boy, she embarks on a train ride that causes her to crash head-on into two individuals who ultimately come to define the sisters’ messy future. And what a messy future it is, for the entirety of legal London is abuzz over Grace and Lily, two oblivious heiresses to a huge fortune left by their deceased father. A desperate race for the money ensues as the affluent families in London begin to plot for ways to take advantage of the Parkes sisters, and the trusting girls step right into these well-woven traps. Eventually, a boy will rescue one girl, and she will stop at nothing until her sister is by her side once again.Fallen Grace is one of those novels you chew through slowly because of its meticulously and beautifully described setting. Ms. Hooper delivers a stunning portrayal of 17th century England, complete with opulent characters and an abundance of child beggars; even the King and Queen make a random appearance. However, the plot turned out to be rather slow in the beginning. I kept waiting for the pacing to pick up: it never did. The entire book felt like an easy rambling walk -- unhurried and enjoyable, until you get bored and decide to run like a maniac and feel the wind in your hair instead.A nicely written novel nevertheless, Fallen Grace will appeal to avid readers of historical fiction.Book Source: Review Copy via TeensReadToo

  • Teresa
    2019-03-01 17:14

    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! ;-)

  • kari
    2019-03-16 15:07

    Two word review: Dickens lite. If Oliver Twist was a girl and had a sister and didn't fall in with Fagan's band of murderous thieves, it would be something like this story with missing heirs and evil plotting people. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this book, I did.The feel of Victorian London comes through so clearly and is even integral to the story with the clinging fog.Grace is an engaging protagonist, being dealt some horrible circumstances, she does her best trying to keep herself and her sister fed and sheltered.It's told in third person and while this is perhaps neccessary so that readers will get to see what's happening behind the scenes, I think I'd have enjoyed it more had it been told from Grace's point of view. We don't get to know enough of her feelings, but mostly see her reactions so there is something of a wall between the story and the reader. I wish the story had continued on because it feels that too much was left up in the air.

  • Anne Osterlund
    2019-02-28 21:15

    Grace is all-but destitute. She and her older—but simpler—sister Lily live in the poorest section of London. They survive, barely, by purchasing and selling watercress. And occasionally pawning their mother’s teapot.Neither of them talk about the training house—the one where Grace was visited at night by a one-armed stranger, an incident which led nine months later to a baby and an illicit trip to the cemetery.But strangely enough, that trip will define her future. Because it is there where Grace is recruited to serve the death trade.Fallen Grace is actually a Victorian thriller. The heroine is believable, her plight all-to-realistic. But the entire story is told with an old-fashioned, tongue-in-cheek sense of drama that barrels along rapidly toward the inevitable, somewhat eerie, conclusion.

  • Kathleen Nightingale
    2019-03-06 17:56

    From the first page this book was so predictable! It was an OK read but nothing spectacular.

  • Sarah Mac
    2019-03-08 18:59

    Charles Dickens for tweens. This had some good ideas, but the presentation is overly watered-down. It's all-too-clearly YA, & that polite veil ruins much of the suspense, grit, & macabre pastiche the author is trying to achieve. For all the sophisticated themes & scenarios that went into this, nothing felt mature enough to do them justice. There was no urgency, even in the direst of conditions -- because being raped in the poorhouse, losing your home, dropping your dead baby in a stranger's casket, & a fiendish inheritance scheme ARE dire scenarios, & they deserved more oomph. The best I can say is that it might inspire some tweens to seek out classic Victoriana potboilers when they reach that level of readership.

  • Tina
    2019-03-02 13:51

    The most interesting aspects of this novel was it's exploration of the funeral industry in late 1800's England. Any historical English history has always peeked my curiousity and this book was no exception. The plot started off strong but waned as the story progressed. I found the sisters very sweet but Hooper did not further their character building during the climax and towards the end of the story. This lack of character building made for a lacklustre ending, leaving the reader dissatisfied.

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-08 14:56

    The year is 1861 in London. Fifteen-year-old Grace Parkes and her older sister, Lily, live a life of hardship, struggling every day just to earn enough money to buy food. Their father disappeared long ago and their mother died while they were still very young. Though she is the older sister, Lily has the mind of a child and so Grace must look after her. The two girls were safe in an orphanage for a few years but once they had to leave one misfortune had followed another. As the novel begins, Grace has just given birth to a stillborn baby boy. Though the pregnancy was forced upon her she still grieves the baby that never got a chance to live, and so she takes him to Brookwood, a lovely and peaceful cemetary outside London, so that he can have a proper burial.At Brookwood, Grace meets two people who will change her life in the coming months. One is James Solent, a handsome young lawyer's clerk. He offers to help Grace if she ever needs assistance. The other is Mrs. Unwin, who along with her husband owns one of the largest funeral businesses in London. Mrs. Unwin offers Grace a job as a "mute" - a girl who is paid to stand at funerals wearing black and looking sad. Grace is horrified by the idea, but when she and Lily lose their home she has no other choice. Unknown to Grace, however, is that she and Lily are heirs to a large fortune left behind by their father, who died in America. The Unwins know, however, and have an evil plan to steal the fortune from the two girls. Will Grace discover the truth in time and find a way to save herself and her sister?Fallen Grace is an excellent young adult historical novel with a unique story that has very Gothic feel to it. I had not known anything about the Victorian funeral trade before reading this book so I learned a lot. I was surprised by how extravagant the funerals of the rich were! Grace was a very likeable main character. She suffered through one terrible hardship after another, far more than many people could endure, yet she managed to stay strong through it all. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy historical fiction or who have read and enjoyed other books by Mary Hooper.Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

  • Kirsty
    2019-02-25 19:07

    Mary Hooper is one of those YA historical novelists I have only recently discovered but I am already rapidly falling completely in love with what she writes and only wish I had discovered her work sooner.Fallen Grace is a beautifully written novel which I devoured in a matter of hours.The first thing I loved about this book was that each chapter was headed by a little note, be it a quote, business card or an advert which is linked to the story and added to the whole experience of the story. I loved seeing what was going to come up next.I loved the setting for the story. The bookk gave the reader a real sense of what it would have been like to be poor living in the middle of London. The sheer detail about the squalid living conditions endured and the differing jobs people had to take on just to survive on a day to day basis was completely fascinating.I loved everything about Grace, the main character of the book, and instantly felt for her as you saw what she went through on a daily basis to ensure that her sister Lily had everything they needed to exist. From the outset my heart broke a little bit for her when you see what she went through with the loss of her child and as her tale continued I wanted nothing more than to be able to pick her up and take her away from all the hardship she and her sister dealt with.The story takes a slight twist when you learn that Grace and Lily are being searched for with regards to an inheritance which is due to them which they knew nothing about and end up feeling very angry at the family of undertakers who seem to be helping the girls out but actually are trying to use them to get their hands on the money. The villians of the piece are really underhand (if the book had been a pantomine there would have been hissing everytime they entered a scene) and it ends up making you root even more for Grace and Lily and hope even more that they finally get the justice they deserve and receive what is rightfully theirs.All in all this book is a shining example of good YA fiction. Fast paced, engaging, well researched with intriguing characters and a fascinating storyline. Definitely a book I would recommend highly.

  • Jenna H.
    2019-02-23 21:08

    Set in Victorian London, Fallen Grace is the story of a poor young girl who's exposed to the seedy underbelly of the funeral trade. What first drew me to Fallen Grace was the historical aspect of the story. I love history and historical fiction and Fallen Grace had an interesting hook with the exploration of the funeral trade in Victorian London. Mary Hooper must have done extensive research prior to writing Fallen Grace and this shows in the detailed scenes she has written. This attention to detail was a large part of why I enjoyed Fallen Grace. It brought a real quality to the story and made the characters seem like real people who (would have) existed during that time period. The beginning of Fallen Grace got my attention immediately. I felt for Grace's plight and wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen to her and her sister. I thought that author Mary Hooper did a wonderful job of creating the relationship between Grace and Lily. Despite Grace's sometimes resentment of having to take care of her mentally challenged sister, it was obvious she loved her and would do anything to keep her safe. And Lily tried so hard to please Grace and prove that she could take care of herself that it broke my heart every time she was taken advantage of. Fallen Grace is a story of survival and hardship. It's a story of two sisters trying to live a day to day existence, with only each other to lean on. It's also a story of a fraud perpetrated against one of the sister's. But throughout all this, it's a story of hope. That one day the sisters will overcome their odds and have a happier life. That they will discover their true inheritance and be able to not just survive, but live. I would recommend this book to any readers interested in historical fiction. Not only is the story itself great, but the descriptions of places and events are well written and really immersed me in the culture of the Victorian era.

  • Angelc
    2019-03-02 20:01

    Poor Grace and Lily have been through so much! Every horrid thing that could possibly happen to them does happen. They are orphans, they are both abused by a benefactor at their workhouse, Grace become pregnant, and her baby dies. And these things all happen at the very beginning of the book, so you can only imagine how hard times become as the story moves on. The story never has a dull moment it hops right along from one scary adventure to the next.I was most intrigued by Grace's work at the Unwins. The Unwins were in the funeral business, and wow was that a shady business in Victorian London. This book was a real eye opener to how much these business took advantage of those were mourning and in an emotionally weak place. All of the 'neccessities' of funerals were invented in order to make more money. Grace herself worked as a mute. What is a funeral mute, you ask? She stands there and looks spooky, sad, and beautiful to add atmosphere to a rich person's funeral. Can you get any more creepy!? It's really sad the lengths that people like the Unwins went to in order to prey on grieving families.Grace truly is an admirable character. She perseveres through all of these hardships and survives with her values and morals intact. Her hardships have toughened her up, but they haven't broken her down. And through it all she takes constant care of her sister, too.This book is a tale of hardship, but it's a story you won't soon forget. ARC sent by publisher in exchange for honest reviewreviewed for

  • Jessica
    2019-03-06 19:59

    Magnificent!This book is a fascinating look at Victorian England, not just the life of the poor, but also the strange and elaborate funerary traditions that arose at that time. The rules of mourning, the rise of the funeral business, all is covered in lavish detail that is nevertheless effortless. No info dumps to be found here, but merely a great story so well-researched that the author could put these little details in seamlessly. And can I tell you how much I loved the characters? I was tense from the first page, because from the first page I loved Grace, with her tragic beauty, and her simple but loving sister Lily, and I was afraid for them every minute. Would they lose everything? Would they be separated? What would happen to them?You must read this book! It's just simply wonderful! I want more!

  • Suzanne
    2019-03-16 15:16

    Wow. Highly recommended! Absolutely wonderful YA book with wonderful characters, and original little pictures of Victorian advertisements etc. Very very intesting and detailed info on ridiculous Victorian mourning habbits in general and the Necropolis Railway in particular (I think I've seen it mentioned in another book but this book contained much more info) - which also made it very different from other books. The only thing I did not care for is that the characters are sometimes too smart when figuring out what trick is played on them - a couple more pages for them to figure stuff out would have been a blessing as it would add to the length of this marvelous story :-)When I was reading I thought of giving it 4 stars, then I thought it really should get 4.5... but what the heck, I say it's a 5!

  • Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
    2019-03-12 14:19

    This was an an enjoyable, easy read. Though the book was mostly predictable, the reading experience was still great. Hooper is a talented writer - she manages to weave historical information into her story very easily and in an interesting way. Hooper managed to create such a vivid and realistic picture of Victorian London which was very fascinating. At the end of the book, everything is neatly tied up which I was pleased about. Fallen Grace was written quite simplistically and I'd have preferred the plot to be a more complex or at least have a bit of a twist, but it still managed to get me engrossed. I look forward to reading more of Hooper's work.

  • Jae
    2019-03-04 18:16

    I don't usually read YA novels, but having previously read Mary Hooper's Newes From The Dead and enjoyed it so much I thought I'd give this one a try. I'm glad I did. It's an easy read but very well written with a story line that held my interest to the end.

  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-03-01 16:03

    Trigger warnings: rape, (view spoiler)[pregnancy as a result of rape (hide spoiler)], death, stillbirth.3.5 stars. This was...fine? A decent YA historical fiction novel? Basically, Grace and her "simple" sister, Lily, have been living in the slums of Seven Dials after their mother's death, selling watercress to survive. Grace has ended up pregnant. The midwife informs her that her baby was stillborn and suggests that she sneak it into a coffin at Brookwood Cemetery so that at least there's a decent burial. While there, it's suggested to Grace that she'd do well in the funeral business as a mute, so when she and Lily lose their home, she takes the only non-workhouse option available. Frankly, it took a little TOO long for the story to get to that point, and then the ending felt quite rushed. Still, it provides an interesting look at the Victorian cult of mourning, Charles Dickens momentarily pops up, and the villains get their inevitable comeuppances. What more can you want?

  • Kerstin
    2019-02-24 16:17

    Kurzbeschreibung:London, Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Die fünfzehnjährige Grace lebt mit ihrer Schwester Lily in einem Waisenhaus in einem der ärmsten Viertel von London. Eine Zeitungsannonce könnte jedoch ihr Leben verändern.Schmutz, der tägliche Kampf ums Überleben und absolute Hoffnungslosigkeit bestimmen das Leben von Grace und ihrer Schwester Lily. Sie haben nur einander – und ahnen nicht einmal, wer sie wirklich sind: Per Zeitungsannonce werden die beiden Schwestern gesucht, denn sie sind die Erbinnen eines riesigen Vermögens. Als jedoch Mr Unwin, der skrupellose Bestattungsunternehmer, bei dem Grace arbeitet, die Annonce entdeckt, spinnt er habgierig ein Komplott. Kann James, der junge Anwaltsgehilfe, Grace helfen und das Komplott rechtzeitig aufdecken? *Quelle*Zur Autorin:Mary Hooper begann zu schreiben, als ihre Kinder noch klein waren. Seitdem hat sie zahlreiche Kurzgeschichten für Zeitschriften und über 30 Kinder- und Jugendbücher verfasst. Daneben gibt sie Kurse in Kreativem Schreiben. Die Autorin lebt in Hampshire, England.Meinung:London im Jahre 1861: Die Schwestern Grace und Lily Parkes sind Vollwaisen und leben in einem kärglichen Zimmer im Haus von Mrs Macready im Armenviertel Seven Dials. Die beiden verkaufen Brunnenkresse auf der Straße, um das Zimmer bezahlen und sich etwas zu essen leisten zu können. Die Geschwister haben es schwer, denn die 15-jährige Grace ist ungewollt schwanger, ein gefallenes Mädchen, dessen Kind allerdings tot auf die Welt kommt. Zusätzlich kümmert sie sich liebevoll um ihre ein Jahr ältere Schwester, die geistig ein wenig zurückgeblieben ist.Als ihre Bleibe dem Abriss durch die Stadt zum Opfer fällt, nimmt Grace eine Stelle als Sargbegleiterin beim Bestattungsunternehmen Unwin an, Lily soll dort als Dienstmädchen fungieren. Was die Schwestern nicht wissen: Sie werden dringend per Zeitungsannonce gesucht, denn ihr Vater hat ihnen vor seinem Tod ein beträchtliches Vermögen hinterlassen. Die Unwins allerdings wissen über die Annonce Bescheid und wollen sich das Erbe selbst unter den Nagel reißen, wobei sie keine Rücksicht auf Verluste nehmen...Geheimnisvolles Vermächtnis von Mary Hooper konnte mich vollends begeistern, denn die Geschichte bietet jede Menge Spannung und viele historische Elemente, die von der Autorin sehr gut recherchiert wurden.Die 15-jährige Protagonistin Grace habe ich sofort in mein Herz geschlossen. Sie ist ein ernstes, in sich gekehrtes junges Mädchen, das schon früh schlechte Erfahrungen mit dem anderen Geschlecht machen musste, woraus ihr Baby resultiert, das leider tot zur Welt kommt. Aber sie gibt selbst in der aussichtslosesten Situation niemals auf, was ihren starken Charakter auszeichnet. Ihre um ein Jahr ältere Schwester Lily ist ein wenig hilfebedürftig, da sie sehr naiv und leicht von Menschen, die Böses im Schilde führen, zu manipulieren und auszunutzen ist.Ferner spielt die Familie Unwin, bestehend aus dem Bestattungsunternehmer George, seiner Frau Emmeline, Tochter Charlotte und Cousin Sylvester, der ein Trauerbekleidungskaufhaus betreibt, eine große Rolle. Die ganze Familie strotzt nur so vor Eigennutz, Bosheit und Hinterhältigkeit. Hier werden die Geschwister als Sargbegleiterin und Dienstmädchen tätig, aber nicht aus Mildtätigkeit der Unwins, diese führen etwas viel Niederträchtigeres im Schilde.Mary Hooper konnte mich mit ihrer Geschichte um die Schwestern Grace und Lily von Anfang bis Ende begeistern. Sie erzählt vom einfachen und auch vom feudalen Leben im London des 19. Jahrhunderts zu Zeiten von Queen Victoria. Vor allem die Schilderungen über den täglichen Überlebenskampf in den Armenvierteln konnten mich sehr beeindrucken und lassen den Leser mit Grace und Lily mitfiebern und -leiden.Viele unwegbare Situationen haben die Geschwister zu bestehen, viele Steine werden ihnen in den Weg gelegt, doch folgt am Ende ein Happy End. Zwar mag für den erwachsenen Leser die Handlung etwas vorhersehbar sein, doch störte mich das in keinster Hinsicht. Für die angesprochene Leserzielgruppe, die sich auch für das historische Leben und den Alltag in London interessiert, kann ich das Buch nur empfehlen.Nach dem Ende der Geschichte findet der Leser im Anhang noch ein informatives Nachwort von Mary Hooper, in dem sie auf einige historisch belegte Fakten im Buch näher eingeht, z.B. die Nekropolis-Eisenbahn, den Umgang mit Tod und Trauer zu dieser Zeit, Queen Victoria und Prinzgemahl Albert, die Armut in London und den Schriftsteller Charles Dickens. Ein informatives Glossar erläutert einige Begriffe, die im Roman Erwähnung finden und zu Anfang jedes Kapitels wurde eine Zeitungsannonce beigefügt, die sich auf das folgende Kapitel bezieht.Fazit:Geheimnisvolles Vermächtnis ist ein spannendes Sittengemälde Londons im 19. Jahrhundert, das durch die tragische und spannende Familiengeschichte der Schwestern Grace und Lily beeindruckt. Zahlreiche historische Elemente vermitteln Wissen und die Lebensweise der Armen in dieser Zeit kann berühren. Ein sehr empfehlenswertes Jugendbuch auch für erwachsene Leser.

  • Aly (Fantasy4eva)
    2019-03-16 13:54

    Historical Fiction isn't one of my most favoured genre’s, but it’s books like Fallen Grace that make me more than willing to make the exception. Fallen Grace centres around the not so glamorous streets of Victorian London around the mid 1800s. It's the story of a fifteen year old girl who is struggling to survive alongside her older sister Lily. Her mother is dead and her father long gone before their birth. Meanwhile a promising future is left behind by our MC due to becoming pregnant which leaves her with no other alternative than to momentarily leave Lily to find a suitable place to give birth. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see this girl so lost and afraid. Who has clearly been raped and robbed of her innocence and left with a child when she is a mere child herself. Readers in my opinion will adore her instantly. She is: loving, caring, sensible, determined and smart. She is naive, but her past experiences have made her a little more self aware and street smart, something that will come in handy if she and her sister are to survive.Eventually she comes across a place which tends to “fallen girls” such as her, but unfortunately her baby is pronounced dead, and immediately the midwife urges her that she bury the child at a certain location -- upon where she will meet the charming Mr James Solent and the cunning Unwins. Both, unknown to her, will play a big part in her life in the near future. Upon her return the girls spend their days selling watercress: just about getting by.There were times when Grace would come face to face with someone who would be described as quite rich e.g. Charlotte: all superior, stuck up and spoilt. You would then look at Grace’s past, how close she and Lily have been to starvation, and alongside her you felt furious and vexed that this spoilt brat didn't realise just how good she had it. What further angered me were the Unwins – Charlotte’s parents. It wasn’t enough that they were frauds, no. They then had to take advantage of two girls who were suffering as it is. However, it is people like Mr James Solent that reminded me that there are good people out there too.Lily is so naïve, and although she wasn’t given an actual diagnosis it’s clear that she may have some form of special needs. More – so it’s lovely to see the great bond they share. Because of her sister’s condition --Grace has taken the role of the older sister/ protector and looks out for Lily -- which in a way may have just resulted in making Grace more responsible and mature before her time, but then again, it’s also the harsh realities that they face which contribute to this. Which then leads me to my point: I was glad that the author didn’t hold back. I was glad that she verily exposed the cruelty, harshness and brutality of others, and made it clear that life is cruel, especially if you have no money or family. I suppose I know that, but it was just hard to read it at times. It was hard to see the suffering of others and see poverty so vividly.Particular highlights of the book were not only the brief appearances of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Albert but THE Charles Dickens. The moment was absolutely magical and I found myself repeatedly reading the scene over and over again. I genuinely felt that I was meeting the man himself! In conclusion I'll admit I had my highs and lows with the book. Particularly when the pace would slow down and eventually pick back up. Also it can be a little hard to get into which is why I can't guarantee that you will all love it. I'll say it right now to be clear. This book will be loved by many and not so much by others: it's not for everyone, but by the end of it, it had completely won me over. I was left pleasantly surprised when I realised just how much I had connected with Grace, and felt for those who had been in her situation and were still going through it. Regardless, what I can promise you is that Fallen Grace is definitely an eye opener.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-03 12:57

    This review was originally posted on my review blog : http://fallingofftheshelf.blogspot.comThe story starts with young Grace Parkes, on a journey to Brookwood Cemetery. The unfortunate death of her newborn son has forced her to bring the lifeless body of her infant to be buried. Grace is only sixteen years old, and as far as anyone thinks in the 1800's, she is considered a fallen woman. No one will want to love her now, knowing that she has given birth out of wedlock. As sad as this time is for Grace, she knows that she wouldn't be able to care for the baby, because she can barely afford to care for herself and her sister Lily.Each day Grace and Lily go out and buy watercress to sell on the streets of Victorian London. It's not a stable job, but it makes them enough money to pay their weekly rent and to put food in their mouths, most of the time. When things become to tough, Grace must make some decisions that will change her and her sister's lives forever. Accepting a job from a woman she met while at Brookwood Cemetery, she becomes a mute for a funeral home. The job is depressing, as it is her job to mourn the death of every dead person that they are to bury. While Grace works at the funeral home, the owners of the home, the Unwins, take her sister in as a maid in their family home. Grace barely sees her sister, and begins to become suspicious of some of the things that have been going on with the Unwin family.Grace thinks it best to contact Mr. Solent, a man who had pressed her to contact him if she ever was in need of help. With his help she finds out some disturbing and somewhat relieving news. It's up to the two of them to blow the lid off a huge scandal, and restoring a fortune to it's rightful owner.I'll have to admit that this book didn't capture me as much as I was hoping that it would. I normally fall into historical novels and can't get out of them because they are just so engrossing. The only thing that engrossed me about this novel was the fact that the author clearly researched the era before writing about it. At times I felt like I was truly walking through the streets of London, as the descriptions of the surroundings were perfect.I didn't really feel as though I connected with any of the characters, except maybe Grace, but only in the aspect that by losing a child she was in constant grief. I myself am pregnant, and don't know what I would do under those circumstances, and pray that I won't have to feel that sort of pain. Other than that I couldn't really feel much toward any of the characters, and at times caught myself skipping parts of the story looking for something a little more interesting. I rarely skip full pages in a book, but it was the only way I was going to finish this one, because I felt that the story was creeping along far too slowly.I was disappointed in this book, but I did manage to finish it, out of curiosity and the history that was jammed into the pages. I will not let this one book by this author prevent me from reading more from her in the future, because her writing style is quite beautiful. The writing and amount of detail that went into this story makes me believe that I just happened to pick up the wrong book by this author, and I'm sure she will give me a good story next time.Despite my low rating, I encourage you to go out and read this book. There have been many great reviews for this title, and I think that you may either love or dislike this book. I unfortunately did the latter in these circumstances.

  • Margo Tanenbaum
    2019-03-11 13:04

    British young adult novelist Mary Hooper channels Charles Dickens in her newest historical novel for teens, Fallen Grace. A spellbinding gothic mystery set in Victorian London complete with orphans, tragedy, and evil villains, Fallen Grace tells the story of orphans Grace Parkes and her simple sister Lily, who come from a respectable family but are now barely managing to stay alive on the cruel streets of London by selling bunches of watercress. As the novel opens, the unwed Grace delivers a stillborn illegitimate baby.Through her attempt to find somewhere suitable to bury her baby, Grace meets two individuals who will change her life; one, James Solent, is a handsome young lawyer's clerk who is attending his sister's funeral, and the other, the odious Mrs. Emmeline Unwin, is the wife of the owner of the largest firm of undertakers in London, a very profitable enterprise indeed. Mrs. Unwin thinks the beautiful Grace would make a wonderful mute, a young girl paid to be a silent mourner at a funeral, and wishes to employ her. Grace shudders at the thought, but when she and her sister find themselves evicted from their lodgings not too long after, she finds herself with nowhere else to turn.Little does Grace know that barristers have placed an ad in a London newspaper looking for her sister, since it turns out they are the recipients of a valuable inheritance. But the evil Unwins want to claim the inheritance for themselves, and are willing to lie and cheat and even get rid of poor Lily and Grace if they have to! Will Grace be able to somehow outwit the evil Unwins, and claim what is rightly hers?I couldn't put down this novel, as I became engrossed in the story of Grace and Lily, the terrible wrongs done them by the charities of the time, and the difficulties of their lives as they try to survive on the street in London. Victoria and her beloved husband Albert appear briefly in the story, as does the most popular novelist of the times, Charles Dickens. Most fascinating of all to me were the details of the London funeral trade and the Victorian cult of mourning, which includes the niceties of mourning dress and behavior, fanned by Queen Victoria's early mourning for her husband. A special railway even existed to take mourners, separated by class, of course, to a vast cemetery built outside of London.This is a terrific book to recommend to teens who like orphan tales, Victoriana, suspense and romance combined, and an excellent purchase for school or public libraries. It makes a great contemporary read-along for a number of Dickens novels typically read in high school, such as Great Expectations. Even if Dickens himself didn't appear briefly in the story, we can't help but think of Dickens' novels when reading Falling Grace, with its honest, noble, kind, and beautiful heroine in desperate circumstances, the money-hungry villains who take advantage of innocent children, and the requisite happy ending.The book includes historical notes from the author.

  • Lauren
    2019-03-26 17:52

    Full of secrets, twists, and turns, Mary Hooper's Fallen Grace will have readers rooting for Grace and Lilly, two poverty stricken girls, every step of the way, no doubt about it!Fallen Grace tells the story of Grace, a girl who has fallen into tough times as of lately. For one, at the the young age of 15, she has give birth to a stillborn baby, and she doesn’t know if she should be happy that the child won't have to life a poverty stricken like her and her sister Lilly, or sad that she'll never get the chance to know her baby boy. Though, with this tragedy sets forth a set of various circumstances that will forever change the lives of Grace and her sister, because there are secrets and deceit lying at every corner, but Grace doesn’t know it just yet, which leads to the following question: will Grace be able to find out everything before it's too late? Will she and her sister get the great lives they deserves? Better yet, will Grace ever recover from her “fallen” status? Only time and more pages will tell in this richly told and compelling story taking place in the mid 1800s. In most ways, Grace is a “saint” so to say, because not only is she strong, hopeful, and kind, but she's taken care of her “simple” but lovable sister Lilly for the majority of their lives. Grace is the kind of girl who constantly has tragedy strike her life, but she doesn’t let it get her down, instead she moves on while still keeping hope for a good future. And while I did really like Grace's character, I also felt she was a bit slow on the uptake at times and bit too trusting of people, but those characteristics are partly the reason why this story had such a mysterious undertone to it, so I'll let them go. I also really enjoyed the character of James, a young man who quickly become a good confident of Grace's, and Violet, another girl's who life hasn't always been peachy.Though, while the characters in Fallen Grace were fully developed and full of life, I feel that the best part of this novel would have to be the plot, because not only did it constantly leave me guessing, but it painted such an informative view of mid-1800s England for me. I truly enjoyed learning more about the death scene of England with Grace and Lilly's jobs at the funeral parlor as well as seeing how squalid and rundown some parts of the country were and how that affected the lives of people similar to the main characters.Lastly, Mary Hooper's writing was great. As mentioned before, she did a great job of creating a historically accurate view of England as well as characters I'm sure many will come to root for. I honestly can't wait to see what time periods she dives into with her future releases.Perfect for fans of mysteries or/and historical fiction, Fallen Grace is the novel to add to your TBR pile!Grade: B+

  • Sarah
    2019-02-23 13:52

    Grace and Lily are orphans who struggle every day to earn enough money to pay their rent and buy even the smallest meal. Life isn't easy but they have each other and Grace is determined to do whatever it takes to keep them out of the work house. An unfortunate change in circumstance forces them to turn to the Unwin's for help, Grace may not like working for the unscrupulous family's funeral business but it is her only option and at least this way Lily will be safe. But are the Unwins really all they seem or have Grace and Lily put themselves into their most dangerous situation yet?I have been really enjoying historical fiction recently and Fallen Grace was definitely a book that had me hooked from the moment I picked it up. From the opening chapter it is easy to feel sympathy for Grace, my heart bled for her throughout the difficult task she has to perform and from that moment on I was willing things to work out for her. Although Grace is in a difficult situation she always does her best to stick to her principles and she has a strong will to survive. She is no weak heroine who sits around waiting for someone to rescue her and is very reluctant to ask for help even when she desperately needs it. Lily may be the older sister but in reality she is a child trapped in a teenager's body and needs Grace to look after her. She is such a sweet character and someone you want to look out for but I was impressed with the patience that Grace shows towards her because she ends up getting into quite frustrating situations. Lily adores her sister and would be completely lost without her but in her own way Grace needs Lily just as much. I loved the relationship between the two of them and I also loved the way that Lily proved that she isn't quite as stupid as some people think she is. The setting of the book is wonderfully described and you are transported back to Victorian London. Before reading this story I knew practically nothing about the lavish Victorian funeral traditions and found them fascinating to read about. I was thoroughly sickened by the Unwins and the way they took advantage of grieving relatives to earn as much money as they could from them. It is a testament to Mary Hooper's writing that I literally wanted to climb inside the book and punch someone, I love it when an author can make me feel that strongly about the bad guys!Fallen Grace is a beautifully written story and one that I would highly recommend to fans of historical fiction. It is a book that shows just how difficult it was for the poor to survive in Victorian England and makes you feel relieved not to have lived in the 19th century. Overall though Grace and Lily's tale is one of survival and hope.

  • Sally
    2019-02-23 13:10

    Oh, this was most excellent! The atmosphere is just so vivid and amazing... thing thick London fog, gaslight, the cold, damp squalor of the slums, the desperation of the upper classes to rise above it all. And a really neat little edge-of-your-seat story, as well!Sister Grace and Lily are orphans who eke out a living by selling water-cress on the streets. I love how richly their lives and the lives of other paupers were described. Of course they lived in Seven Dials, which tends to be THE place to set these kinds of stories. Then one day their building is condemned while they're out... and they have nowhere to go. They end up seeking charity with an undertaker and his wife, whom Grace met at the fascinating London Necropolis when she was secretly burying her stillborn baby - by tucking it into a first-class coffin during the train journey down there. I found the idea of the Necropolis Railway to be seriously incredible, I'd never heard of it before!Lily is older than Grace, but exceedingly simple. At first she was really annoying, but then... well, I guess once she and Grace were separated - Grace to be an undertaker's mute (which still has me singing That's Your Funeral from Oliver!) and Lily to be "Miss Charlotte's personal maid" - we didn't see much of Lily, so she wasn't really less annoying just less present. lol. I adored Grace though, she's a wonderful heroine!(view spoiler)[The epic plot twist lies in the fact that newspapers have been looking for Miss Lily Parkes for a few months now, as her father's died abroad and she's an heiress... Grace and Lily always thought their father, who'd left to make his fortune in the Americas before Grace was born, had probably died at seat. The Unwins - the undertakers - realise that this simpleton whose sister is begging them for charity is THE Lily Parkes and they decide to take her in, butter her up, and swindle her out of her money. She's simple, after all! She can be convinced that she's been living with them for years. Only Lily's not actually THAT stupid that she believes Miss Charlotte's make-believe stories. So the Unwins pack Lily off to an asylum and pretend that their daughter is Lily. Forged adoption certificate and everything!It was all so wonderfully exciting, and of course you KNOW it's going to end happily-ever-after - and it does, in the nick of time! - but it still has you on the edge of your seat, wondering how long it will take before matters all sort themselves out. I absolutely loved it, definitely my favourite Mary Hooper so far! It's like if Eva Ibbotson went a little dark and gothic or something :D (hide spoiler)]

  • Larissa
    2019-03-01 18:10

    Grace and her older sister Lily lost their mother at a young age, before that they had lost their father. Alone in the world the girls had been sent to an orphanage and when older to a workhouse, but now they were living on their own making what they could selling watercress in one of the poorest areas in London.It had always been Grace's responsibility to look after Lily, who now almost seventeen was still as unable to care for herself as she was when a child. Grace and Lily had left the workhouse and all it's horrors behind them, or so they had thought until Grace could no longer deny what was to be the outcome of her short stay there. And so, grieved and emotional, Grace found herself at Brookwood Cemetery with two business cards placed into her hands.When the worst came to worst and Grace and Lily were forced from their home, Grace determined not to see her sister or herself resorting to living in the streets. She tried unsuccessfully to contact Mr Solent, the man who had given her the first business card. When that had failed she reluctantly took up the second black edged business card. She had been offered a job once, working for a funeral business.It was not a position Grace was comfortable with but the Unwin family had agreed to take in Lily also, and although the sisters were to be separated Grace was only pleased they would both have food, clothing and shelter for the quickly approaching winter. However unbeknownst to Grace, the Unwin's had motives of their own for taking in the young girls.Fallen Grace is a historical novel depicting life in London for both the poor and the wealthy, discriminating against neither as a poor beggar on the streets could be as much a thief as the wealthy in their posh houses, or worse. Amongst death, grief and greed Grace shines as a strong and vulnerable character able to tell a story that is fast paced, well thought out and all her own. A story full of deceptive actions, heartbreaking decisions and, if she's lucky, happy endings.

  • Beadyjan
    2019-03-22 16:13

    I've read and enjoyed most of Mary Hoopers YA historical books and Fallen Grace was no exception.It wasn't the most original storyline ever written and there were one heck of a lot of coincidences to swallow but the ease with which its written and the charm of our young heroine helped make up for that.Well researched as this authors works always are it brings home what it must have been like to be a poor orphan living in poverty in one of the most notorious slums of Victorian London.Orphaned 15 year old Grace and her older but less street wise sister Lily live alone in the seething tenements of Seven dials scratching a living selling bunches of watercress on street corners, living hand to mouth occasionally having to pawn anything they can lay their hands on in order to eat, even the blankets off their beds.Life has already been cruel to the 2 girls and Grace has had to face tragedy upon tragedy in her life leaving her with a melancholic expression which brings her to the attention of funeral organisers who invite her to work for them as a mute, a professional mourner.The book covers several meaty topics relevant to this period, The Necropolis railway, the Victorian fashion to mourn and be seen to mourn, illegitimacy, orphans, workhouses and the legal profession are all introduced into the story there is even a brief cameo appearance by Charles Dickens and a fleeting glimpse of the Royal couple Victoria and Albert, before Prince Alberts death throws the whole country into an even deeper frenzy of mourning.Aimed firmly at the younger reader, however the story telling is good enough to satisfy all but the most jaded palate and if you enjoy reading about the grimier aspects of Victorian life and a hint of rags to riches in your historical fiction you should enjoy Fallen Grace.

  • Riss
    2019-02-26 21:19

    I really did enjoy this book for its plot, characters and set up was indeed amazing. Finished it in two days as a leisure read but despite my love of Grace, her pride even when dirt poor living hand-to-mouth, her sister Lily with her simple mind and the evil to the core Unwins and their cleverness; I can't bring myself to give this book 5 stars because through the writing was phenomenal and took me through the hardships with ease, I can't help but think the author cut the story short.We read about their beginnings, their troubles, how they rescued, the swindling, hurt, and pain but ultimately we are left out in the cold in the end. Does Grace get married? What about Lily? Where do they live? Does Grace settle into her new life? Does she ever reveal herself to her son?There are just too many unanswered questions we never get the answer to.And James; there was the perfect opportunity to let us see the other side of the garden; how does he fare? Does he step up to the plate and help Grace or does he grow bored with her street-like habits and become ashamed of her? What of the upper society? We learn that they are heirs and incredibly wealthy that all of the town has their tongues wagging; do they accept Grace and Lily into their circles or cast them out thinking them a disgrace? There was so much potential here, but it all fell short. So many questions, so little answers.Or maybe I'm just begging for a sequel. Is there one? Please tell me there is.

  • Rebecca Pates
    2019-03-15 20:10

    Again, I was wandering through my local library looking for a book. Mary Hooper, who basically got me into teen fiction, especially historical once someone brought me my favourite book of hers, The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose. Which I fell in love with (and got signed!). So I knew that she had a new book out and seen it in the shops but was going to wait till it went on paperback. But I saw this on the shelf and picked it up :) maybe slightly bias as I really like Mary Hooper's novels but from the comments I've seen on her Facebook page, lots of people love this book. Grace is a great character and you start to feel really sorry for her. Mary Hooper has also made it more true to by adding in some tragic events that would have happened that year if Grace was a real. She's shown what life would have been like if you were poor in London in Victorian times. Once you start reading, you see that there is more to the plot than is made out but then, it's not to ruin it. There are so many twists and turns right down to the last page that make me sitting there, my mouth open in shock. If you read it, you'll know what I mean. I must admit though that I'd love to work at the Unwin's Mourning clothes shops on Oxford Street. Sounds a nice place to work to me. Though that maybe my love for fashion.Anyway, I would recommend this book anyday. It is such a good book for anyone that likes a bit of everything and enjoys historical novels.