E-Arc Courtesy of netgalley and Flux Books
In 1888, following her mother's sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother's request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper
Set in Victorian times Ripper follows Arabella as she moves to London to live her the grandmother she never met after her mother’s death. Arabella becomes involved in the strange killings in forgotten Whitechapel, by a man with medical knowledge who the papers call Jack the Ripper...
I’m a big fan of Jack the Ripper stories so I went into this book with a lot of enthusiasm and expectation. It was an easy read that I got through in a couple of days, the pages flying by. I liked that the main character was so headstrong and determined to make her own way in the world – especially at a time when women were defined by their families and husbands. The characters throughout the story are well drawn and different – I liked both the love interests and even Arabella’s grandmother was an interesting personality.
However, I couldn’t help but feel some of the story didn’t hand together just right for me. For a strict guardian, Arabella’s grandmother was surprisingly relaxed about her working in a hospital and spending time alone with young men. In that era young girls were supposed to be chaperoned at all times. I also didn’t feel the magical elements were really needed – it would have worked without them. One element that really annoyed me happened in the first few pages – Arabella chases a pickpocket from Kensington to Whitechapel - running the whole way. That is a very long way! Not something easily done walking, even today, let along to worry about chasing anyone! It really frustrated as I immediately felt like Amy Carol Reeves didn’t know London and how big the city and the parks actually are. It niggled me for a long time.
In summary, it is an exciting story with a great strong leading lady and some interesting romantic leads. I just think my own high expectations disappointed me - my fault rather than the book!
Recommended for fans of Amanda Ashby and Mary Hooper. 6 out of 10