Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mary Hooper's Fallen Grace (Review & Interview)

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

This breakout novel--a page-turning gothic mystery--is not to be missed.

Life has been nothing but unfair to Grace Parkes and her sister. Penniless, the two orphans manage to stay alive-but only barely, like so many on the streets of Victorian London. And Grace must bear a greater heartbreak, having become pregnant from terrible circumstances and then given birth to a stillborn baby. But the infant's death sets Grace on a new path, bringing her into contact with people who hold both riches and power. A great fraud has been perpetrated on young Grace and her sister, and they are the secret recipients of a most unusual legacy-if only they can find the means to claim it. Mary Hooper's latest offers Dickensian social commentary, as well as malicious fraud, mysterious secrets, and a riveting read.


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 always 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 the a novel to add to your TBR pile!

Grade: B+

Fallen Grace is now out!

Source: Publicist at Bloomsbury. Thanks Kate!


I also had the chance to interview Ms. Hooper, so without a further ado...

In your opinion, what are the top three reasons why teens (or even adults) should consider picking up Fallen Grace the next time they see it online or in stores?

Well, according to the (UK) Times newspaper, FALLEN GRACE was the best new historical novel of 2010. Secondly, they will learn a lot about Victorian funeral practices and thirdly...um...lots of fascinating stuff about mourning wear and all the rules and regulations that went with wearing it.

Fallen Grace tells the story of Grace Parkes so can you share a bit about her? Also, if you could offer her any type of advice, what would you say?

Grace manages to survive despite all the terrible things that are done to her. She (mostly) keeps her composure, is serene and loving. And at the very end of the book, she does the right thing!

What was one of the hardest parts of getting Grace's “voice” down?

It wasn't so hard. Once you have immersed yourself in the period you are writing about: Victorian, say, you start to think Victorian. You get inside your main character's head and really think about what she would have done/said/felt in any given circumstance.

What made you decide to set Fallen Grace in the Victorian London time period? Because I was so fascinated by the Gothic elements of this time period. And London because it is my home town.

Do you have a favorite scene or line from Fallen Grace? If so would you mind sharing it or a little about it?

I love the last few lines of the book. They made me cry when I was writing them and they make me cry now.

How did the title Fallen Grace come to be?

 Well, her name was always Grace, and my editor came up with FALLEN GRACE, as she is a "fallen woman". At first I was keen - seeing as Grace was a funeral mute - to incorporate something about graveyards or death in the title, but we couldn't think of anything appropriate and I had grown to like my editor's idea by then.

What are three things your readers would be surprised to know about you?

 Bad news: I left school when I was fifteen. Good news: I went back and got a university degree when I was forty. I can't think of anything else surprising!

What's next for you book wise? Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have just this week put the final touches to my next book, set in the Victorian/Edwardian period (around 1900) about a fraudulent medium. It is called VELVET, which is the name of the main character.


Thanks so much for stopping by Mary! Velvet sounds fabulous, and if Fallen Grace is any indication, I'm sure it'll be nothing short of spectacular!

To find out more about Mary as well as her books, be sure to head on over to her website.

Oh, and here's the book trailer for Fallen Grace:


  1. Fallen sounds great. I haven't heard much about it, but I'm adding it to my tbr list. It goes great with the challenge I'm participating. (reading YA historical fiction) Great review & interview.

  2. Great interview and review, Lauren! Mary Hooper is one of my favourite authors and I loved Fallen Grace when it was released in the UK last summer so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it too. I met Mary and interviewed her in person when she visited my school a couple of weeks ago and what she said about Velvet sounded fantastic!

  3. That sounds fabulously mysterious. I loved the trailer. I haven't heard of this one before so I'm definitely going to add it to my wishlist now.

  4. Fantastic your Review & interview. Amazing your idea and very nice details shared in the post . i loved that thanks


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