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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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