Books by Mary Hooper

POPPY by Mary Hooper
Released: Aug. 30, 2016

"This mildly interesting peek into a historical setting reads like an elderly person's memoir. (Historical fiction. 12-16)"
This British import gives readers a look at one of the ways women served in World War I. Read full book review >
VELVET by Mary Hooper
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"Intriguing, savory Victorian chiller. (author's note; historical notes; bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
A Victorian teen becomes dangerously ensnared in the sinister world of a fraudulent medium in this well-constructed, thoroughly researched tale set in London in 1900. Read full book review >
FALLEN GRACE by Mary Hooper
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

In the years since their mother's death, Grace Parkes, 16, and her developmentally disabled sister, Lily, 17, have struggled to survive on their own in Victorian London. While surreptitiously depositing her stillborn child, conceived under horrific circumstances, at a cemetery, Grace is offered employment as a "mute" (hired mourner) in the Unwin family's booming funeral business. Desperation soon forces her to take the job, although it means separation from Lily, who is sent to be a maid at the Unwin residence. The crooked, opportunistic Unwins have their fingers in many pies, and when they discover that Lily is heiress to a fortune, they plot to obtain it for themselves. When Lily disappears, it's up to Grace—armed only with wits, beauty and a chance meeting with a young law clerk—to find her sister and claim their inheritance. Hooper, author of many historical novels, packs her brisk Dickensian fable with colorful characters and suspenseful, satisfying plot twists. The sobering realities of child poverty and exploitation are vividly conveyed, along with fascinating details of the Victorian funeral trade. (historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2008

A hanged scullery maid rises from the dead in this fascinating historical novel based on actual events in Cromwellian England. Wrongly accused of infanticide after delivering the stillborn child of her wealthy employer's ignoble grandson, Anne Green is sentenced to death. After being hanged, Anne awakens to a state of suspended animation, where she can neither see nor speak. She begins silently reviewing the sordid circumstances that led to her demise, while on the other side of the coffin's lid, Oxford's finest physicians discuss her imminent dissection. Luckily, a shy medical student observes her flickering eyelids and the doctors stay their knives. Anne is successfully revived, her near-death condition attributed to an ill-placed knot in the noose. Hooper takes what could have been a lurid tale of being buried alive and turns it into a suspenseful and thoughtful exploration of capital punishment, class bias, religious belief and medical ethics. Fans of Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light (2003) or Julie Hearn's The Minister's Daughter (2005) will be eager to make Anne's acquaintance. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

Eliza Rose—cast out by her stepmother and imprisoned in 17th-century London for stealing a meat pie—is rescued by Ma Gwyn from the clink because of her green eyes and black hair. The crafty Ma sees a future for Eliza that may include whoring. But the stubborn Eliza is rescued by Ma's daughter Nell, a vivacious actress and dancer who strives to be—and soon is—mistress to King Charles II, with Eliza as her companion and maid. While there's a lot of period detail, Eliza herself seems willfully naïve and remarkably ignorant. Nell is the most vivid character, but she's drawn in broad strokes; there's more depth of feeling in the description of clothing and carriages than in that of any of the characters. Eliza's own story comes clear in a most fairytale-like ending complete with a possible suitor named Valentine. (cast of characters and places) (Historical fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2004

Out of the frying pan, literally into the fire, the young London shopkeeper who witnessed the horrors of the Plague in At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (2003) returns to the City just in time to see most of it go up in the Great Fire of 1666. As she did previously, Hooper laces her tale with vivid historical and physical detail: Hannah goes from quarantine in a revolting "pesthouse" to a stay in a great manor; then while reopening her confectionary, she catches glimpses of the king, and of the period's unruly theatrical scene. Meanwhile she's riding an emotional rollercoaster as her beau, Tom, turns out not to be dead as reported, but working with a sinister quack styled Count de'Ath. Unlike the story, the fire starts slowly—but both build in parallel to a roaring climax. Readers not intimately acquainted with London's districts will be lost as Hooper traces the conflagration's course in exact detail. Still, those who stay the course will be rewarded with an exciting tale, enriched by a clear picture of life in Restoration London, and a protagonist able to shrug off losses, even of her treasured business, as long as her love life is looking up. (notes, recipes) (Historical fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

A sometimes graphic tale of London in the plague-ridden summer of 1665, as seen through the eyes of a newly arrived country girl. Hannah is thrilled to be in the big city, and her excitement takes a long time to fade as she throws herself into the work of helping her big sister Sarah run a confectionary while mooning over Tom, a friendly apprentice apothecary. While food and fashion engage her attention, however, church bells begin tolling for the dead, the king and upper crust flee the city, and the tally of victims mounts. Business drops off too, until the sisters concoct an herbal plague "remedy" that at least tastes better than the many others being hawked. Hannah's outlook changes at last when the disease begins taking her friends, and when a chance comes to escape the city with a baby who is the sole survivor of a well-to-do household, she and Sarah take it. Though Hannah's too shallow a character to convey the epidemic's terror effectively, readers will get a vivid picture of London's dirt and bustle, as well as generous dollops of herb and flower lore—supplemented by closing notes, a glossary, and even recipes. (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
AMY by Mary Hooper
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

A cautionary tale from Britain about love on the Internet demonstrates the influence of online chat on teenage girls on both sides of the Atlantic. When Amy, 15, finds herself on the outs with her best friends since primary school, she retreats to a chat room to find companionship. There she meets the sympathetic and exciting Zed, whose teasing and sophisticated banter provides an exotic refuge from the dreariness of school and home. When Amy meets him in person despite the concerns of both her mother and her new friend and fellow loser Beaky, she finds that he is not as he had represented himself, and moreover has a disturbing lapse of consciousness during a day together on the beach. Could this be related to the mysterious reversal of her shirt and subsequent flashbacks of an unclothed Zed? The narration takes the form of a taped report given by Amy to the police after the event, and the occasional chapter heading indicating the recording time and inclusion of chat transcripts jar with the colloquial and conversational tone of the narrative itself, calling attention to the artifice rather than aiding any real suspension of disbelief. These jolts are few, however, and do not fatally impede the flow of the narrative. There are no surprises in this tale; teens who have had the rules of Internet safety drummed into them will be a step ahead of naïve little Amy all the way. But the near-universal obsession with chat will nevertheless make this an easy sell, and readers will enjoy this vicarious brush with danger. (Fiction. 11-15)Read full book review >