The Disgrace of Kitty Grey
Publisher: Bloomsbury - Released 8th May 2013
Ecopy Courtesy of Netgalley and Bloomsbury
Kitty is living a happy, carefree life as a dairymaid in the countryside. The grand family she is employed by looks after her well, and she loves her trade, caring for the gentle cows and working in the cool, calm dairy. And then, of course, there is Will, the river man who she thinks is very fond of her, and indeed she is of him. Surely he will ask her to marry him soon? Then one day disaster strikes: Will disappears. Kitty is first worried and then furious. She fears that Will has only been leading her on all this time, and has now gone to London to make his fortune, forgetting about her completely. So when Kitty is asked to go to London to pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice, the latest novel by the very fashionable Jane Austen, Kitty leaps at the chance to track down Will. But Kitty has no idea how vast London is, and how careful she must be.
Set in Regency England, the story follows milk maid, Kitty Grey who is left with her beau’s young sister after he disappears. She follows him to London with Betsy, the sister and finds herself getting deeper and deeper into trouble. It is amazing how quickly Kitty manages to lose her money and without instant communication that we enjoy today is stranded and friendless. The time is not easy on Kitty especially as she has a young child to look after – which most people assume is hers. A lot of people look down on her because of this and she easily finds herself on the wrong side of the law, even without meaning too. The law doesn’t seem fair and is weighted towards those with money.
Once again Mary Hooper has managed to capture the atmosphere and tone of the era with London bustling, crowded and moving towards a city we might recognise now as well as the gentle country life that hasn’t changed in years of Kitty’s home. I adore the way that the environments described come to life with the sights, sound and smell stirring all senses. Kitty is a sympathic character if naïve and her trials really make you feel for her. The writing is layered simplicity which draws you in, involves your senses, invokes emotions and teaches all at the same time.
This is not a long book and I was able to read it in a couple of sittings, but for those who love and appreciate historical stories with a splash of romance, then Mary Hooper is the author for you. I am a complete fan and still have a couple of book from her back catalogue I want to start reading soon!
Recommended for fans of Ceclia Rees and Sophie MacKenzie. 8 out of 10