Summary Provided by Goodreads:
Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has traveled 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 lacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.
I’ll be honest, I thought I was going to enjoy this book a lot more then I actually had. I love reading historical based novels, but Fallen Grace was just to slow. Even towards the end of the book when everything is supposed to come together and all the questions are answered, I was bored.
I enjoyed learning about Victorian Era London and I learned a lot about the funeral business. I was not aware that so much went into a Victorian funeral. I knew about mourning clothes, but had no idea that rich people would hire “mutes”, girls who sat in the back (or the front) of the funeral and grieved. At the end of the book, Hooper added a “Historical Notes from the Author” section, which was really great! It helped me to understand the story a little more.
I liked the chemistry between the two sisters, Grace and Lily. They had so little, but they made it work because they had each other. Grace had a lot to deal with, and caring for her older, yet slower sister was hard, but she never complained, she just did what she had to do. I liked Grace’s character a lot. She was strong, smart, and brave.
Fallen Grace is told in the third person narrative. I didn’t think I was going to like that, but it worked perfectly and gave the story a little bit extra.
I gave this story three stars on goodreads. I think I was just expecting something different, but I couldn’t tell you what that was.