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 ...
A really enjoyable YA historical fiction read which I really liked.
For me this book was a real eye opener for me about a something from the past that I knew very little about despite being a history teacher. The story is set in the regency period and and follows the story of Kitty Grey as things go horribly wrong for her. To start with her sweetheart goes missing leaving her with his baby sister. She trails the child to London to find him whilst on the errand for her employers and whilst there a whole series of events leaves her and the child destitute.
This story gives real insight into the unfairness of the justice system at the time. Kitty finds herself in an impossible situation and facing horrendous charges which are escalated due to the fact that everyone assumes she is an unmarried mother. It completely fascinated me to see what happened and felt me wanting to know more.
A book which I would really recommend highly. It does exactly what I think historical fiction should do in that it gives a real insight into a historical time period without overburdening the reader with boring detail and therefore keeping the reader really engaged and fascinated with the story.