Published: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 326 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
I actually found PhantomRin’s art work for Stalking Jack the Ripper before I had ever heard of the book, and it was so gorgeous that I had to see what was so awesome about it that it deserved such gorgeous fan art. Well, I looked it up and the blurb on the back was absolutely tantalizing. How could this girl be the girl that loved the Ripper? Well, this book kept me guessing as to the culprit until the grand finale and it was jaw-dropping!
First, let me tell you of the characters. Our MC is the lovely, intelligent, and ambitious Audrey Rose Wadsworth, lady of London’s high society. She’s sneakily studying with her uncle, Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth the practice of forensic science, dissections and all. This, of course, is not to the liking of her father Edmund or her brother Nathaniel who both think it’s improper for any lady, especially one of her status. Then there’s the clever, Holmes-ian assistant to Dr. Wadsworth, Thomas Cresswell. He’s a skilled assistant and is clearly interested in Audrey Rose for more than just her intelligence, though she doesn’t care to admit that she reciprocates. These are the main players in this literary game of CLUE, though we know where the body is and what weapon was likely used, it’s the WHO and the WHY that no one can figure out.
As an assistant to her uncle, Audrey Rose is drawn in to the Ripper, or Leather Apron, investigations in a very close-up way. She’s examining these poor, butchered women firsthand and everyone from the police to her family look at her askance, as if she herself is involved in something heinous for breaking society’s rules. Admittedly, her involvement probably wouldn’t have happened in this era, but it sure makes for a story that has such an element of empowerment.
All in all, this was a fantastic historical fiction and I can’t wait to see if there will be a sequel! I expect there will be, though I’m unsure if its been confirmed. The ending was a surprise and I love that I was guessing until the grand reveal at who the culprit was. Kerri Maniscalco is an author to be watched because this was a truly excellent debut novel. I hate that I missed out on going to one of Kerri’s book signings but maybe next time around I’ll make it!