Author: Amy Carol Reeves
Publisher: Flux (April 8th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.
My rating: 4of 5 stars
“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.” GoodReads’ blurb
Jack the Ripper is one of those figures where reality exceeds fiction – so it has become the source and inspiration for a lot of fiction. I’m a sucker for those stories, so imagine my glee when I had the chance to read and review this novel...
And it was amazing!
Arabella Sharp has grown up in the lower classes, and now that her grandma has taken her under her wing, she finds herself suffocating. Her work at Whitechapel Hospital is, at first, the reprieve she needs from social rules but, as time goes by, it becomes her purpose. That’s why the killings hit her so hard – that, and because she seems to have an eerie connection with the killer.
That’s where the paranormal aspect kicks in, and I’ve to say that it surprised me. Not so much the outcome, because I was able to put the pieces together along with Arabella, but because I’d never have thought of mixing the different... things that take place here.
I really wish I could go into further detail, but it’s not a good plan. Spoilers and all.
Let’s talk a bit about the other aspects, then – the characters and the romance. Abbie meets two young men in the hospital: Simon, who is kind and polite and intelligent, and William, who is intelligent and dark and difficult to figure out. However, this didn’t read like a triangle for me. Abbie likes spending time with both men, but there’s attraction just with one. Fortunately for me as a reader and unfortunately for her, it’s not the kind of pull that makes you soar and conquers all barriers. It’s not the kind of feeling that lets you know someone’s perfect for you.
It’s the kind of feeling where you’re in equal parts infuriated and enraptured. Where you can’t agree on the small things and feel like you want to throw something at his head. Where you’ve to wonder if your next step is the right one, or if you’re making a huge mistake.
Yes: it reads a lot like a real relationship. That’s what I loved about it. Being with someone is not easy, as a general rule, and this is one of those few books that reflect it.
There’s also another young man, Max, who also gives off sexy vibes at some points – that’s the only detail I think we could have done without. I wasn’t necessary, and it belittled the importance of Abbie’s other relationships. But taking into account that it was a scene, and perhaps just two pages long... No big deal.
Though for the moment there’s nothing about a series, I really hope that this is the first book in one. We’ve solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper, but it has only discovered a deeper problem: the one linking Abbie to the core of the whole issue.
I want to come back to this world. I want to revisit the characters, walk the streets in Whitechapel, find more answers to my questions.