You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate – Kerri Maniscalco.
Much like Kerri Maniscalco, I have always been fascinated with historic crimes that haunt our present. Jack the Ripper was the leading reason why I chose GCSE History way back when. We studied his crimes, his victims and the theories about who this cold-blooded murderer on a rampage really was during the late nineteenth century. The fact that this is very much an unsolved case, the allure and intensity of the crime still beats in every crime lovers’ hearts. We are forever wondering the reasons why, the question of how and of course, who this monster was.
I found Stalking Jack the Ripper on many a bookstagram feed – where I find a lot of my TBR books these days. As soon as I glimpsed the title, I knew I had to have this book on my shelf. I remember having screenshotted it and having it saved for months and months, knowing I’d love the tale of Jack the Ripper being told once more. I predicted correctly, because I am in love with this story, so much so I finished the entirety in a matter of days.
Audrey Rose is our heroine, a seventeen year old girl and daughter of Lord Wadsworth. She is the last young lady that London society would expect to be elbow deep in blood, tissue and cadavers. This is just the tip of what makes her a strong, loveable protagonist, centuries ahead of her time. Audrey believes that gender does not depict talent, career or worth. In fact, she laughs in the faces of men who deem her opinion unworthy. Little do they know that she can deduce facts of death from a cold body better than her male peers. And, she does not faint in the mere sight of them; both the living and the dead.
One thing that does handicap her great work is her emotional attachment to the recent female bodies that start piling up in her Uncle’s laboratory at the end of August 1888. These are the ladies of the night who have met their doom in the blackened alleyways of Whitechapel, had their throats slit and their organs removed. Historically, we know hardly anything about the women who met their end – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly – and so, to fictionalise their lives is giving them something more than tragic, horrific endings. We have no idea why any person is killed with so much brutality; to have them known just for their deaths is a grisly act in itself.
It wouldn’t be a young adult novel without a spice of romance, especially the kind that disallows two lovers to actually show their love – or fancy – for each other in public and behind closed doors. Say hello to Thomas Cresswell. Talk, dark and handsome. Dashing and devilish. Broody and calculating. It’s no wonder Audrey Rose mistakes him for the Ripper on multiple occasions. His light-hearted wit and levels of flirtations make Thomas Cresswell unbearable for Audrey Rose to tolerate. She refuses to let him ignite the fire in her heart… at least for a short while.
The mystery element to Stalking Jack the Ripper is gripping, especially with the opaque descriptions of the gruesome horrors that Audrey Rose must work through in order to find the clues she desperately needs to discover the real identity of Jack the Ripper. Each clue fits a growing puzzle, and speculation can only go so far. Even spiritualists come to play. Audrey Rose’s suspicions lead her in the right direction, but I was the one who figured out the monster’s true name long before she even realised who he was.
If you love the thrill of crime and history, you will adore Audrey Rose’s story. I’ve begun the second instalment of the series, Hunting Prince Dracula, so prepare yourselves for another visit of Audrey Rose on the blog.
Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? Are you inclined to now?
Love, Faye xo