Author(s): Mary Hooper
Young Adult | No Category
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 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 effect 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 pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.
A much-awaited new historical novel from Mary Hooper that will delight her existing fans and, by breaking away from the C17 into the Victorian era, will give added interest for more potential fans. Also perfect for reading alongside any study of the Victorian period Mary's authentic historical voice and setting are combined with a tense, thrilling mystery plot to make this an unputdownable read
'Her best and most accessible novel yet ... definitely a must read for 2010' - The Bookseller 'Nobody tells a story like Mary Hooper does. Her ability to make the lives of girls in times past come alive for the modern reader is a special skill. As well as her superb grasp of period settings, she revels in extraordinary and fascinating human stories that cry out to be told. Such lives could not be in better hands' - John McLay, Director, Bath Festival of Children's Literature 'A sensitive and tautly-plotted novel, intelligently told' - Daily Mail 'By any standards, an exceptional novel ... the gift for taking historical situations and making them emotionally engaging is far too rare ... after six historical novels, this one is Hooper's breakthrough and its characterisation, plotting and atmosphere are first-rate and deserve prizes ... Not since Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke has there been such a gorgeous evocation of Victorian life - or so satisfying a conclusion' - Amanda Craig, The Times
Mary Hooper is a very popular writer for children and young adults. Mary's brilliant historical novels, At the House of the Magician, By Royal Command, The Betrayal, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, Petals in the Ashes and The Extraordinary Life and Times of Eliza Rose, have a huge fan base, as do her contemporary novels for teenagers. Mary is very much in demand for her events at literary festivals and schools. She lives in Henley-on-Thames.