Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Grieved, Mute And All Alone!
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.
Price (AU): $24.99
Recommended age: 14-18
In a word: Grace
Re-read it: yes
Star rating: four out of five