Sunday, 21 October 2012

*Audiobook* Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

GoodReads Summary: 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 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.

- Purchase from AudioGoUK
- Add to GoodReads
Source: AudioGoUK

With a run time of 7 hours, Kate Byers has done a brilliant job of narrating this audiobook, her voice truly brings to life the characters of Fallen Grace. 
I was immediately drawn into Grace's world, as an orphan she not only has to provide for herself, but for her sister too. Despite all the the hardships and struggles she faces she never once complains. Determined, vulnerable, and wise beyond her years I easily became attached to Grace, rooting for her to get the life she so deserves.
Her sister, Lily, has the mind of a child and although she tries her best is taken advantage of on a number of occasional. I felt that this really emphasised how hard it must have been to live in such times.
The Unwin family run a funeral business, slyly manipulating grieving families into paying more than necessary for a fancy funeral and feeling no remorse about it at all. A truly wicked bunch.
Mary Hooper has done a wonderful job of portraying Victorian London in all its filth and splendor. At the start of each chapter there's snippets of newspaper ads and quotes from Dickens which help you imagine the way in which the rich live. Hooper paints a clear picture of the stark contrast between those living in poverty wearing rags and doing what they can to get by and those from the upper classes riding through Hyde Park in carriages wearing elegant clothes. Fallen Grace looks at both sides and gives a realistic and authentic look into the Victorian lifestyle. 
It's obvious that Hooper did a lot of background research as I learned things I never knew before about London and the Victorian Era. For example I didn't know about the different mourning stages and the steam train that takes coffins to cemeteries outside the city. These little details really brought the story to life and helped capture the harsh reality of Victorian life.
Fallen Grace is a delightfully dark read that will sure to be a hit among YA historical fiction fans!

Rating:

16 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to read this. Love historical fiction, and Victorian England is always interesting to me. Thanks for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So a modern Dickens-ian story? Not my usual genre, but this sounds very interesting. I love a good historical fiction, and this one sounds like a nice balance of history and drama.

    New follower returning your follow :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I seldom listen to audio books. Glad to learn that you liked the narration. Maybe I'll have to check out this version. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't read many historically set books, but this one sounds like something I might like. :) I actually have a Mary Hooper book on my shelf that I still need to read...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this book Renu, it does sounds really dark and twisted, not my usual sort of read, but fun nevertheless. Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't read historical fictions much but this one sounds pretty good :) !! I'm adding it to my wishlist !!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not sure audiobooks are exactly my thing, but it sounds pretty nice.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do so enjoy dark reads, so I'm liking the sound of this one. And I hate the Unwin family a little bit already for taking advantage of grieving families. I've had this one on my list for a while, I hope to get a chance to pick it up soon! Fabulous review:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't heard of this one before, but I definitely want to give it a try! I don't listen to a lot of audiobooks, so the fact that this one is good speaks volumes! I can't wait to get ahold of this myself! Fantastic review, Renu! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm going to add this one to my list right now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I read one novel by Mary Hooper and didn't like it much (At the Sign of Sugar Plum) but I am a hopeless cause when it comes to all things Victoriana, dark and tragic, so I'll definitely try this one out. :) I'm really pleased that you were a fan, Renu! Utterly brilliant review :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm not fan of audio-books at all. I cannot concentrate on the story and I always miss some parts. I'm happy to see that you like it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't think I've heard of this book before but it sounds interesting. Like Tanja, I'm not a fan of audio-books so I might read this book in hardcopy! Plus, it's about historical fiction which makes me even more interested!

    Awesome review, Renu ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh wow, I've seen the cover of this book a couple of times, but really didn't know what it was about. It sounds goods!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've never heard of this but is sounds dark and heartbreaking. I notice you listed to the audio version, Renu. I've been listening to audio books as well because I have a 45min-1hr commute back and forth to work everyday and I feel like it's not such a waste of time then. Great review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, I've never heard of this book before. It sounds do emotional and very well-done. I'm happy you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...