Author: Mary Hooper
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: June 7th 2010
Age group: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Cover rating: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5
Description via Goodreads:
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.
My thoughts: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.
I really enjoyed this one. I wasn't all that intrigued by the premise but the story actually turned out to be really good. I found Grace to be an incredibly lovable character and I found myself really caring about what was going to happen to her and her sister, Lily. The story is really interesting and the corrupt nature of London's rich added a shocking element to it. I was quite annoyed that Hooper put in that small chapter about the baby at the start... it took away any twist at the end when Grace found out the truth. It would have been nice to have been as surprised as Grace was, instead of knowing it all along. Overall though, it was a nice book, well written and full of excellently developed characters.