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.
It’s day two of my two-day Ripper event, hooray!
As I mentioned yesterday, I love anything and everything associated with Jack the Ripper. That said, it’s pretty rare to come across something that adds a totally unique twist to the story. This book, however, did by adding an additional paranormal component to the real-life brutality.
Abbie is a likeable heroine. She’s miserable at being forced into life as a socialite and yearns to get out from under her grandmother’s thumb and make something of her life. She aspires to be a doctor in an age where it wasn’t socially acceptable for a young woman to do so. Her grandma has the bright idea to make Abbie volunteer at the Whitechapel hospital as “punishment” so that she appreciates her opulent lifestyle, but it backfires in a big way when Abbie shows a real proclivity for the volunteer work and decides she wants to continue.
I really liked how the real names of victims and others associated with the real Jack the Ripper were worked into the story and they actually became characters. There wasn’t a lot of suspense involved because, you know, real event so you know exactly what’s going to happen to them, but it definitely humanized them a lot. And there was one pretty major twist toward the end of the book that I thought was really interesting.
There was a bit of a love triangle here, but nothing that was too over the top and Abbie was very decisive about what she wanted, so it didn’t bother me a bit. Aside from a few points in time when I thought her behavior was almost too reckless to be believable, Abbie was really straightforward with her feelings and opinions.
Overall, this was a really interesting twist on the Ripper mythology.