Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
“There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”
Set in the 1800s, where women are not expected to enjoy "boy things" or dress in garments that are not close to a dress or a skirt, our heroine Audrey Rose Wadsworth is nothing like the others. As her family is very respected in the hierarchy of her town, she must go above and beyond to impress the people around her however that is the least of her worries as on her down time she spends it in her uncle's basement studying forensic science and carving up bodies to study their anatomy.
As she tries to keep her hobby and interests a secret, a serial killer starts hunting down women to prey on and kill. Her uncle, for many people expect him to be crazy and sick, is arrested for the murder of so many girls. Yet, she knows in her heart her uncle is not the killer. However, as she starts uncovering more pieces of the puzzle all the answers turn to her father. Has she loved the Ripper all her life and hasn't been aware of her father's sick past time? Or is it someone else she loves and cannot bear to lose?
There were many things I enjoyed about this book. The main character is amazing, she stands up for herself and the norms of the world she lives in. She is also a girl that has many facets to her personality. Many times this juxtaposition is mentioned, where she loves her dresses and her fancy objects yet she would give it all for her bones, bodies and love for science.
“I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?”
I also really enjoyed the take this book and this author had on feminism, women rights and how a men ruled world could affect a young girl and sometimes even the man in the society. As soon as they were not considered "husband" material they were shunned by society. That also happens with the depiction of prostitutes in this story, which I found quite enlightening. They didn't sell their bodies for fun, they did it because they had no ways to provide for themselves as all the men in their lives had not helped them, and as society leaves them behind they have to do the worst in order to live. The appreciation and analyzation of social norms was very interesting and well introduced in the story, it played a really important role in the story and for me was what shaped the main backbone of the book. Allowing it to flow as well as it did and for our main character to be so strong and likable.
“Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.”
Our secondary characters are also really amazing. I loved the Uncle, I found him super interesting and wish we could have spent more time around him. I do however, have an opinion about some of the characters that are introduced to be later not seen again for example Blackburn. He was a little useless and although I understand why he was added to the story, he was later taken out and we never heard of him again.
As for the romance in the book. Many reviews I've read critique the love story that forms between Audrey Rose and Thomas Creswell. I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT. I loved him, the love story is not the main attraction to the story that's for sure and it is very innocent and high-school like. Yet I felt it fit amazing with the story line, the time and the personality of the characters. As for Thomas' personality, I also really enjoyed. He was witty, funny, adorably cute. He was cunning and intelligent and made me laugh every once in a while with his flirty comments towards Audrey. I really enjoyed their love story, as innocent as it was.
“Also, you’re quite welcome for the flower. Do place it on your nightstand and think of me while dressing for bed.”
The ending was expected for me, I knew who the Ripper was before it was announced. Its not obvious and I don't think the real mystery is who the real killer is, but the process of how they get there. I will be definitely continuing this fabulous historical thriller and read the next books in the series.
--- 4 stars ---