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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Life is hard work but safe for Kitty in the country. A dairy maid on a big estate, she has a secure job, friends and even a sweetheart. What should be an exciting opportunity (a trip to London to purchase a copy of the newly-published Pride and Prejudice for her employers) turns into a nightmare. Country-bred, innocent Kitty is not street-wise enough for London.
This...
Published 16 months ago by ML Jensen

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3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Kitty lives a happily as a milkmaid in a titled house of Devonshire but her life thrown upside down when she goes to London and ends up in prison. She in the end Marries her sweetheart. Such a brilliant story.
Published 10 months ago by Jeane Rautenbach


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 11 May 2013
By 
ML Jensen (Bath, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
Life is hard work but safe for Kitty in the country. A dairy maid on a big estate, she has a secure job, friends and even a sweetheart. What should be an exciting opportunity (a trip to London to purchase a copy of the newly-published Pride and Prejudice for her employers) turns into a nightmare. Country-bred, innocent Kitty is not street-wise enough for London.
This is an evocative story, as one would expect from Mary Hooper. The world is filtered through Kitty's innocent point of view and Hooper's writing is, as always, deceptively simple. Kitty's innocence is powerfully contrasted with the might of the establishment as it conspires to crush her.
The powerlessness of innocence and poverty in the face of a law designed to protect the already-wealthy is especially pertinent to us today, as we watch legal aid being removed from the most vulnerable. Kitty has no chance of avoiding the fate of all those so poor they are forced to break the law to survive. Or has she?
We have seen some wonderful settings in Mary Hooper's historical novels: laundry, funeral parlour, cress-selling, sweet-making and now a dairy-maid - so different in London to in the country. All beautifully evoked and described.
Beautifully researched, charmingly written; Kitty Grey is a delight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Disgrace of Kitty Grey, 25 May 2013
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
Kitty may not be rich but she is happy with her life, she works for a wealthy family as a dairymaid and although her hours are long she is well treated and has plenty of food to eat. She even has a sweetheart, local ferryman Will, who she adores and hopes to one day marry. Then Will disappears leaving Kitty to look after his four year old sister Betsy alone. Will didn't even say goodbye but Kitty knows he has family in London and wanted to go there to make his fortune so when the opportunity comes up she decides to go in search of him to reunite Betsy with her brother. What Kitty didn't realise was how big London is or just quite how harsh life can be there for a woman alone with a young child. Within minutes of their arrival all of their belongings are stolen and Kitty is forced to take desperate measures just to survive, ones that end with her arrested for stealing.

I'm a huge fan of Mary Hooper's writing, she has a way of bringing history to life and I think that's partly down to all the little details she adds to her stories - those little snippets from true stories that show how well researched her books are. I love the way she always introduces some less talked about aspects of history too, in Fallen Grace it was Victorian funeral traditions, in Velvet it was the horror of baby farms and in The Disgrace of Kitty Grey it was the treatment of female prisoners and the prison ships that were sent to colonise Australia along with some very interesting snippets about the life of a milkmaid.

Kitty is such a great character, she is quite innocent, especially when it comes to the ways of city life, but at the same time she has a great inner strength that is what pulls her through the difficult times. Nothing about London is what she was expecting it to be and it was a real struggle for her just to survive, she tries so hard to get a job and earn the money she needs to look after Betsy but circumstances keep going against her. It makes you really appreciate the justice and welfare systems we have in place now because it was practically impossible for single women to make an honest living in the past, especially one with a child because of the stigma of being an unmarried mother. The conditions in the prisons were just horrific for the poor, sentences for relatively small crimes were high and unless you had the money to bribe the guards for extra food or even a blanket then life was miserable. In contrast if you were rich then prison could have all the comforts of home right down to a four poster bed if you paid enough for the privilege!

There were a couple of coincidences in The Disgrace of Kitty Grey that were a little hard to believe but that didn't stop me thoroughly enjoying the story. Kitty was lucky enough to find some supportive friends who made life at Newgate prison a little more bearable for her and Betsy. I think anyone with even a slight interest in history is going to love any of Mary Hooper's books and this one is no exception. I can't wait to see what interesting topic she introduces next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!, 7 Feb 2014
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This is a great story with some really good historical information in it about London in times gone by, would highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always a delight to read a Mary Hooper book., 6 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
Originally published on Serendipity Reviews.
Mary Hooper is one of those authors who can pick you up and transport you anywhere in history. Every book she writes is so thoroughly researched, you feel like the author has magical powers allowing her to visit the periods in history she writes so realistically about.

During this novel, we are transported back to the time of Napoleon and find ourselves in a beautiful, idyllic country setting. Life isn't easy, but Kitty loves her job and works hard to do it well; she takes great pride in the dairy. With the love of Will, the ferryman, she is content and looks forward to spending the future with him. It's only when he disappears that Kitty's life starts to unravel. In her desperation to find him, she enters London blindly only to discover her future doesn't look too bright any more.

This book is full of fascinating contrasts. In the beginning, you compare Kitty's life to the wealthy family she works for. The differences are obvious, and yet surprisingly, Kitty's life seems more appealing. At least she can choose who she would like to marry unlike the young ladies of the house who are bound by their parent's decisions. As the book progresses you begin to contrast life in the country with life in London. London comes across as grey and depressing, as Kitty struggles to survive. As each day passes, her situation just gets worse until she ends up in Newgate Prison, the lowest she can go.

I loved the descriptions in this book.From country life to London life, you get an excellent impression of both. Newgate Prison has always intrigued me. The conditions they lived under were appalling; the lack of places to sleep, no opportunities for cleanliness and very little food, yet if you had money you could pay to make your conditions better. This shows clearly the unfairness of society during this period in history. People were jailed for the least little thing. If someone burnt a chair these days, I doubt an eyebrow would be lifted, yet in those days you were thrown in jail, facing the possibility of being whipped or put in the stocks.

If I'm honest, I would've liked a different ending. I wanted to see what would happen if Kitty continued on the route she was originally destined to take. How her life would have turned out if the events of the final pages had not occurred. On reviewing the book now, I wonder if the author might take that idea and use it for a future book and we might see what happens when someone actually takes the journey that Kitty nearly embarked on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!, 3 Jan 2014
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I loved this book, it was exciting and educational at the same time, I would recommend this book for anyone over 9.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 3 Nov 2013
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Kitty lives a happily as a milkmaid in a titled house of Devonshire but her life thrown upside down when she goes to London and ends up in prison. She in the end Marries her sweetheart. Such a brilliant story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Novel, 17 July 2013
This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
Full Disclosure: I won this as a prize on the History Girls website, so it was a freebie (but with no strings attached)

I enjoyed it. Kitty is a Milkmaid working for a wealthy family living in Devon in 1813, and the book follows her life at the manor, and her subsequent adventures and misadventures after she is sent to London.

Mary Hooper does an excellent job of portraying the often brutal realities of life for an ordinary woman in 19th C London, and how easily one could slip into the clutches of the law, and how impossible it was to escape 'justice'. It's a period which interests me, and so little of the factual background was unfamiliar to me (although I had not heard of the underground cows before!) but the book is marketed to a YA audience, and I suspect would be an excellent introduction to the period for those not familiar with it, as well as being a good story!

The ended strained my credulity a little; it wasn't impossible, just a bit improbable, but nevertheless I enjoyed the book and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, particularly to teens interested in history or law.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Review: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
I love Mary Hooper's work. This is about the fourth of her books that I've read, and I've loved every one. They are so romantic, interesting, but above all easy that they make utterly perfect reading for a warm summer's afternoon.

Hooper's primary talent is taking a small facet of historical times and bringing it beautifully to life - simple story lines a vehicle to portray some of the fascinating practises of times bygone. In The Disgrace of Kitty Grey it's the prisons of London and how men and women who stole to feed their families faced the terrifying prospect of transportation to Australia. As Kitty is helplessly thrown from one bad situation to another, the sad reality of life for many of London's poor is illustrated.

The storyline doesn't offer much in the way of challenge, and there's always an overriding sense that everything will work out alright for everyone in the end. I did think there was something of an imbalance in the structure - with a lot of time spent in Kitty's home before anything perilous happens, then by the 80% on my Kindle edition I was wondering if there was enough room left to resolve all the plot points. There was. Just. But the ending did leave me wanting a little more.

Overall, though, this was thoroughly enjoyable. As I said, Hooper's books are just easy going, light reads, and sometimes that's just what you need.

Rating: 4/5
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 2 Sep 2014
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Omg soo good I'm 10 and I thought that this book was the best book in the world I enjoyed this book lots
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 4 July 2013
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This review is from: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Paperback)
As a fan of Mary Hooper's historical novels, I was thoroughly looking forward to the latest book and I was not disappointed! Only took a day to read - it was so good I couldn't put it down!!
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The Disgrace of Kitty Grey
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper (Paperback - 9 May 2013)
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