AMONG THE FALLEN by Virginia Frances Schwartz is a heartfelt standalone that takes place during the Victorian era and follows a girl as she enters a home run by Charles Dickens to give fallen women hope. This story addresses modern concepts of the #MeToo movement while addressing the problems of 1850s London. This post DOES NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
I was kindly given this ARC by Holiday House for an honest review. Here is the summary and shortened review.
From the infamous Tothill prison, Orpha is haunted by recurring flashbacks of sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, and the horrors of a Victorian workhouse, but she refuses to be crushed. Her heartbreaking yet inspiring story tells of the resilience and courage needed to make a new life for herself against all odds with the support of the amazing women of Urania cottage and the help of famous author Charles Dickens.
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Why I was interested: I’ve been in a Victorian era kick lately since I’ve been binge-reading Kerri Maniscalco’s STALKING JACK THE RIPPER series and rewatching episodes of VICTORIA so it felt like a smooth transition into FALLEN. The one thing I absolutely love about historical fiction is when it focuses on a detail of a period or an event that is not discussed often. It’s jewels like FALLEN that introduce me to new veins of history that makes me so excited to read and research it.
Judge a book by it’s cover: Orpha — or truly any fallen girl of the era — is showcased with a sense of wonder as she steps outside for the first time beyond the gates of Thothill. In the story Orpha is amazed at the sounds and colors she hasn’t seen in years. It’s only appropriate to focus on this awesome moment.
What to expect: This story is both brutal yet hopeful. There are discussions of sexual abuse, forewarning, but the main character truly learns how to stand for herself as we are seeing now with the #MeToo movement. Orpha feels like a character out of Dickens’ stories and you will want her to triumph over every obstacle.
Why you should pick this book up: AMONG THE FALLEN is a fairly simple read set up into 20 chapters, much like how Dickens’ stories were set up. While it may be quick, it weighs with emotion that is relatable to anyone. If you enjoy hopeful stories, this one’s for you.
Want more?: This book will be published on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The #MediaGalReads’ full review with spoilers will be published here on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
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