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.
I love a bit of gore in my reading. – who doesn’t? I was foaming at the mouth to read Ripper as soon as the book/description hit my radar. There was a great balance to this book that I’m sure paranormal fiction fans will enjoy (even those with a tender stomach may still enjoy it). In all honesty it really wasn’t gorey. Ripper gives you Amy Carol Reeves’ take on the story of Jack the Ripper along with all of it’s mystery, an intriguing dash of paranormal elements and just enough but not too much romance on the side. Perhaps even a few thriller moments.
Reeves’ heroine Abby is not your typical ‘lady’ – and definitely not the one her Grandmother wishes her to be. She tires of endless days spent doing embroidery, having tea, sitting around reading quietly or visiting, all the while expected to be prim and proper. She longs for something more. To be active. Activity is just what she gets when her Grandmother recommends that she perform volunteer work at White Chapel, a hospital for women in a seedy part of the city. What Grandmother sees as somewhat of a punishment for Abby’s rebellious nature, Abby views as a blessing. She is strong willed and unused to the sedentary life of the rich.
Ripper definitely had a nice smooth pace for me, easily moving from one scene to the next. Each event no matter how small it seemed still held my interest and Reeves’ did well to set the tone of the book by starting off with a chase between her and a pickpocket…where their encounter ends with just a enough of a feeling that something unusual has just happened. I felt all of the people Abby meets has an actual presence and implied importance that didn’t make me discount any of them.
One thing I did note was each time she met a male character there seemed to be a lot of “eye action” going on between them. I have to admit this made me smirk a bit thinking, more eye oogling? (example “arrested me with his eyes, penetrating eyes,” etc) – but I think it was good that it was there. It keeps you guessing. I knew there was going to be a romantic element somewhere and thought she did a very good job at keeping you wondering as to who ‘the man’ would be…as well as making you think – could he be the Ripper? I liked it that I didn’t feel like I knew who was going to be important or a villain until much farther into the book.
The action definitely increases immensely at the end, though there wasn’t as much “action” throughout the book the mystery is what keeps you turning the pages til you get to the action/climax. It was definitely worth the read and recommend it.
I didn’t realize until the end of Ripper that another book was likely to follow. When I discovered from the author’s twitter feed that there definitely is a second book – titled ‘Renegade’ I was super excited. I am aching to know what becomes of Abby and various other characters (I won’t name names or that might give you undue hints! It will be very interesting to see how Reeves’ continues the story as I’m pretty confident the ‘Jack the Ripper’ part of the tale is done – so what could she possibly have in store for us next?
Find Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves: GOODREADS
*Final Copy provided by Publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.