This book felt much longer than it was for me. I liked the Dickensian feel to it, the plot could quite easily have been written by Dickens himself and he even makes a cameo appearance! However I did feel the plot was quite slow in places and others I wanted more detail. I would have like to have seen things from Lily's point of view more, she doesn't get much of a say in it. There's one particular situation that Lily finds herself in that I really wanted more detail on.
The strongest part of this story was the beginning, where Grace gives birth to her child. I loved that it wasn't glossed over and told you as much detail as possible without being too gross. This reminded me of the beginning of Oliver Twist, which I watched the other day. I'm not a huge fan of Dickens but I know Oliver Twist quite well and strangely enough, this plot feels similar.
Another strong part was when Grace recounted hers and Lily's pasts to James and to herself. These show you what London girls back then went through and really made me feel for Grace and Lily. Their situation slowly becomes more desperate before the Unwins take them in.
There's lots of twists and turns in this, a lot that I wasn't expecting which was nice but felt a little too clean, a little too coincidental, like they'd been thrown in the make the plot spicier or something. I really liked the addiction of James Solent, who was by far my favourite character in the story. It would be nice to have a sequel where James and Grace get married by I believe Mary Hooper isn't one for sequels!
I have to comment on the cover. A lot of people have said that they love the cover and it is nice, with the pretty swirly decoration around the edges of it but... it's the back of some girl's head. How can that be attractive? If I was in a shop I wouldn't pick that up and go, 'Oh, I like the back of her head, I'll buy that!'
I did enjoy this story, all in all. I thought it was quite rich and would make a perfect TV movie.