Bel Reviews: Mary Hooper's - "The Disgrace of Kitty Grey"

Hooper_KittyKitty 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. It is barely a moment before eagle-eyed pickpockets have spotted the country-born-and-bred Kitty and relieved her of her money and belongings. Dauntingly fast, she has lost her only means of returning home and must face the terrifying prospect of stealing in order to survive – and of being named a thief …”

After recently posting about Austen and August, I think this is a fitting review to follow the trend of historical fiction.

From the little dairy in the country side to the overwhelming bustle of London, Kitty gets herself into, and out of, trouble better than you would expect of a woman from the Austen era. She is hardly a simpering air-head. Her trusting heart and moral compass can be blamed for a fair bit of the heart stopping drama. Even I wanted to stamp my foot at Will.

Highlights in the book for me were the graceful way in which Kitty panders to the wishes of her employers’ daughters. They want her to teach the cow to do… what?!

I find my tastes don’t usually run to historical fiction, or even really to the classics, however I thoroughly loved The Disgrace of Kitty Grey. It’s short, sweet and balanced well, especially for the uninitiated, like me.

I suggest this one for an outdoor read on a Spring afternoon with a snack of brie and crackers.

Paperback, 288 pages

Published May 9th 2013 by Bloomsbury Childrens Books (first published January 1st 2013)

ISBN: 1408826711 (ISBN13: 9781408827611)

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