“What is a man’s soul made of that a woman’s is not?” – Audrey Rose Wadsworth (39 mins, 39 secs)
Publication date: 20th September 2016
My rating: ★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.02
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror
I personally purchased an audio copy of this book via audible. All opinions are my own and aren’t influenced in any way.
*Trigger Warnings – Death, graphic blood, gore and dissection, drug use and murder.*
This deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…
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.
Overall opinion of the book:
Overall, this was an interesting book based on a topic that has always interested me. The plot follows Audrey Rose and her pursuit of Jack the Ripper, who is reeking havoc and horror in 19th Century Whitechapel, London.
It oozes feminism while staying true to the stereotypes of the time. It emphasises how some women were able to break the moulds of society and push the boundaries of what was acceptable for a woman to do during this era. While I loved the pushing of boundaries, at times I felt as though Maniscalco was allowing Audrey Rose to become a token feminist, for example, her choosing to wear riding gear over dresses.
At some points in the book, the feminist parts became a little repetitive and I wanted Maniscalco to trust the readers enough to know that women didn’t have the same freedoms in the 1800’s as they do today. The book doesn’t always follow the typical feminist tropes however and I did enjoy the female empowerment overall. One line in particular I loved is featured above. I love that Audrey argues how men and women are the same. She emphasises that women can have strong stomachs are are cut out for laboratory work too – all the yeses from me!
Audrey Rose has a fascination with cadavers and works with her uncle in his laboratory, alongside Thomas Creswell, her uncle‘s student and apprentice. Thomas is a character I wasn’t overly keen on to begin with, but grew to love as the novel progressed. He’s completely obnoxious and outspoken, but hilarious and endearing at the same time. He’s definitely one of those characters you want to dislike but can’t help loving.
The plot does contain one of my least favourite book tropes of all time… the dreaded “enemies to lovers”. If you’ve followed my blog and Twitter for a while you’ll know this is one of my biggest bug bearers and usually vastly affects a book rating containing it. However, this trope wasn’t too bad in Stalking Jack the Ripper and I didn’t mind the budding romance between the both characters. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops in the later novels as it’s a slow burner, which I’m so glad about.
Maniscalco was brilliant at staying as historically accurate as possible. I particularly enjoyed listening to her author notes at the end of the novel, which explained the slight changes she made and why. With historical fiction, it’s so important to stay true to the era you’re writing about, in terms of writing style, colloquialisms and clothing, also historical events. She does this well and it’s clear she researched heavily before writing.
I listened to the audiobook of Stalking Jack the Ripper and thought the narrator was excellent. I’m not usually as fond of female narrators, but she was engaging to listen to.
In regards to the plot, it was so intriguing and up my street. There was plenty of blood, gore, twists and turns and some of the plot were so dark – I loved it! It does go into a lot of detail in regards to experiments, dissections and the death scenes however, so I’d be aware of this if you’re a little squeamish! Audrey Roses’s interactions with her cousin and her cousin’s friends were fun to read and emphasises that she does have interests outside of the laboratory. I also liked reading about Audrey’s grandmothers heritage, such as the saris she wore and the Indian food she would make for the Wandsworth family.
The mystery surrounding who Jack the Ripper was, was compelling and quite shocking. Although I correctly guessed who the Ripper was fairly early on, I didn’t guess his motives – which left me open mouthed in shock. Overall I loved how dark this book was and thought it was well written. It didn’t blow me away, but I’ll definitely be continuing on with the series.
I enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper and thought the premise of the book was great. The characters and story were interesting and compelling. If you’re a fan of blood, gore and historical fiction, this is definitely the book for you. I’d definitely recommend giving this book a read and I’m excited to see how the next few books will lead on from this.
If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can do so here:
Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? Did you guess the ending? Let me know in the comments below! 😊