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Fallen Grace

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,132 ratings  ·  311 reviews
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 ign ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published June 7th 2010)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,132 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Jun 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, 2011
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 cha
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
May 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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, c ...more
Trigger warnings: rape, (view 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 dec
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 de
This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.


Orphaned 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 Lil
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, ya
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 an
Anne Osterlund
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 Grac
Sarah Mac
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 str
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2011
This review was originally posted on my review blog :

The 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
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, Gra ...more
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 lo
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-own-read
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 Un
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 whe ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
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 preferre ...more
Kathleen Nightingale
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
From the first page this book was so predictable! It was an OK read but nothing spectacular.
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All Historical Fiction and mystery fans
Recommended to Aly (Fantasy4eva) by: Instinct
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 lea ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: england, victorian
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 sti ...more
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
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
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 ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london, ya, mystery, victorian
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
Madeline H.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Fallen Grace is a 320 page, historical fiction book, written by Mary Hooper. It is about a girl living in Victorian London in 1861 with her sister. Her name is Grace Parkes. Her mother died and her father is nowhere to be found, so Grace takes care of her sister. One day, Grace gives birth to a baby, which sadly died in childbirth. She was given enough money by the midwife that helped her deliver the baby to go to a graveyard and bury her baby. So, Grace went to the graveyard and met Mrs. Unwin ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own

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 workho
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
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
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it

Fallen Grace is the evocative tale of Grace and Lily, watercress-selling sisters living in Victorian London and their turbulent effect of the Unwin family, undertakers extraordinaire, on their lives.

Grace, at fifteen, is a solemnly beautiful young woman who struggles to keep roof overhead and food available for herself and seventeen year old Lily. The bond between Grace and Lily is incredibly realistic; as events uncoiled I was swept along by Grace's quiet emotions.

The plot itself was, for me,
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fallen Grace is the first book I’ve ever read by Mary Hooper and I must say that I did enjoy it.
The story follows young, poor Grace Parkes who has just given birth to a stillborn baby boy and her older, yet simple-minded, sister Lily as they try to survive. To me, Grace was quite the extraordinary girl because she got raped and then gave birth to a dead baby and yet managed to keep her and her sister fed and sheltered. Lily on the other hand reminded me of my little sister. She was really slow
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Wild Things: YA G...: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper 1 3 Sep 25, 2011 09:42AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

British children's and young adult author Mary Hooper was born in 1944, in Barnes, South West London. She left school at fifteen, and went to work as a window dresser, and then as a secretary. She eventually returned to school, as an adult student, earning a degree in English from Reading University. Hooper began
“Prince Albert was gazing out of the window into the dark streets. Grace's eyes locked with Prince Albert's and she immediately sank into curtsey. On rising, she blushed to see that he was nodding in acknowledgment and smiling. Not knowing what else to do, she curtseyed again, and while her knee was still bent, the traffic eased and the royal carriage moved off.” 7 likes
“So many dead, Grace thought in melancholy wonder, and realised, for perhaps the first time, that there were more dead people in the world than live ones.” 4 likes
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