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 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. 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.
In the world of Young Adult fiction, the majority of tales that you come across these days tend to be pretty solidly set within the latest trends. So it takes a pretty strong author to branch out and create the type of offering that they not only want others to read but one to make them stand out from the crowd. What is portrayed within this title is an almost Dickensian world that is not only bleak and harsh but also one that will keep the reader glued as they hope and pray that the characters within manage to make their own way through the trials and tribulations thrown at them. The characters are outstanding, the dialogue crisp and the overall arc is one that will stay with you long after the final page. A truly memorable reading experience.