The Disgrace of Kitty Grey – Mary Hooper

“Suddenly nervous about why the two young ladies had asked to meet me in secret, I hurried through the kitchen, went up the servant’s stairs and stood waiting in the hallway between the drawing room and the front parlour, just as Miss Sophia and Miss Alice had requested.”

Kitty was a milkmaid, perfectly happily working in the dairy of Bridgeford Hall. She was carefree and loved her job, and had her eye on Will, the river crossing man. The sweethearts seemed to be made for each other so when Will’s older sister falls on hard times and Will asks Kitty to watch out for his younger sister Betsy, Kitty has to say yes. But then Will disappears, leaving Kitty to take on a role of mother on top of her duties. 
Kitty believes that Will has gone to London to make his fortune so when Miss Alice asks Kitty to go to London and pick up a copy of the newly published Pride and Prejudice, she jumps at the chance, thinking she can find Will. However after landing in London Kitty is aware that the chances of finding Will are slim especially when her bags and money are stolen and Betsy falls ill… With no money and a sick child Kitty does what she needs to do to survive, but where will it get her? 

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If you are a regular reader of my blog it will not surprise you to see this book make an appearance. I LOVE Mary Hooper, to me she is the queen of Historical YA and I have been excited about Kitty Grey since I heard about it. Thankfully the story did live up to the high expectations I had given it and I loved every second, getting sucked into the story from the first page and hardly stopping to take a breath. 
The story is awesome and everything creates a ripple effect, I love it when you can see the circumstances that caused other events to happen and so on and in Kitty Grey you can. The start with the young ladies of the house asking Kitty to train a cow really is where the story begins and the events involving the cow are how things escalate, even if you don’t see it at the time. Kitty doesn’t get to London until near 100 pages into the book which surprised me but all the set up before she goes was very much needed and enjoyed. The story needed to introduce Kitty to us in that way otherwise she could have quite easily have come across more unlikable than she did. 
The characters were brilliant and I felt like I knew them so well by the end of the book, the horrible ones got under your skin and made you shudder whereas I fail to believe anyone could say a bad word against Kitty herself, Martha, or even Betsy as she was just a sweet little girl. Kitty was very naive but its understandable for a country girl who has never witnessed anything bigger than her estate and I don’t blame her for the way things turned out at all. 
The moral questions raised in Kitty Grey were fantastic and I really enjoyed the discussions about women and how they were practically forced to marry those that their fathers deemed fit and hearing about thoughts on Australia and what happens to the prisoners there. I thought it added something real to the story and allowed for me to sink deeper into the world of 1813 (I am guessing that was the date as that was when P&P was published.) I loved the additional of the Historical notes at the end of the book and though I know a bit about this time period through fiction, it helped me understand the more factual aspects of it.
My one downside of the book was that the ending felt a little rushed and a let me down just a smidgen. I was expecting something different and it ended up being well, not to my taste. I don’t want to give anything away but if you have read the book please email me or tweet me as I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on it! Other than this though I loved it as much as I love all of the author’s work and I doubt I’ll be giving up on her soon! 
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey will be published on May 9th by Bloomsbury. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review by the publisher. 

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  • I feel bad that I haven’t yet gotten around to this one! I’m glad you enjoyed it though 🙂