The Disgrace of Kitty Grey
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.
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 ...
I always enjoy Mary Hooper’s books. I find she’s one of those authors who are perfect to read when you just want something nice and light to while away a few hours. And I love how her books are full of fact as well as fiction!
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey is the story of a young diary maid. Working for a rich lord, she lives a nice but sheltered country life, and often dreams of the day when her sweet heart Will can finally save enough money to propose to her. However things turn upside down for Kitty when Will disappears without as much as a goodbye.
Certain that he has gone to London to find his fortune, Kitty is furious that he has left her alone to care for his four year old sister. Therefore, when her mistress asks her to go to London, Kitty jumps at the chance – taking Wills sister along with her.
Yet things go downhill for Kitty the moment she arrives in City. Robbed, penniless and with a child to care for, despair hits her when she realises her chances of finding Will are miniscule. Soon branded a thief and thrown in prison, Kitty is only a reassured in her thoughts that things cannot get worse, only the do. Now she is forced to admit that not only will she not be reunited with Will, but she is likely to never see her home again…
You can’t help but enjoy this book. While I thought it got off to a slow beginning, the story really picks up the pace the moment Kitty arrives in London. As misfortune upon misfortune begins to fall upon her, you can’t help but sympathise with her situation.
Kitty is a timid character but she is smart and kind hearted. I was furious by the harsh fate thrust upon and was both annoyed and frustrated by Will’s sister who without doubt, made Kitty’s life infinitely harder. Yet I couldn’t help but turn the pages to find out what happened next.
Set in Regency England, I was also shocked to learn how unfair and corrupt the justice system was back then. I found it particularly interesting how harsh people were to Kitty - simply because they thought she had had a child out of wedlock, but it was also fascinating to read about the state and affairs of English prisons.
So overall a most engaging book and one I truly enjoyed! Historically accurate but not at all boring, it will take you on a journey through the past and give you real insight into the period.
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey is charming, insightful and ripe with history. A very nice read - 4 stars!
*Published May 9th 2013 by Bloomsbury (UK)