Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
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.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
My rating is 3 stars because it was a fun and entertaining ride with many twists and turns BUT I didn’t quite feel the adrenaline. Yes, it kept me wanting uninterrupted reading time BUT I wanted the heart pounding suspense and the mystery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I managed to enjoy myself, it’s just that I had really high expectations for this novel!
The first few chapters were slow and gave me trouble actually getting into the story but once I pushed through them it went much better and a little faster. The story is too descriptive for my taste and a few times I had to go back a bit to remember what they were talking about.
Victorian London is a time where women didn’t get to do or go anywhere by themselves, they had to be protected at all costs and yet I can’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t exploited as it should’ve been. I expected Audrey Rose to struggle more to get out of the house, with her own morals (she was groomed to be a perfect young lady for crying out loud!), with her fellow apprentice Thomas, with her uncle, with her aunt and cousin, with the police, with society in general, and so much more! It felt a bit unrealistic that she could practically come and go as she pleased in a time where it just couldn’t be done. Everything went too conveniently for her!
Audrey Rose is feminine, curious and courageous (for defying the expectations society bestows upon her and especially for facing the dead on a daily basis); the problem I had is that she didn’t use one bit of logic or strategizing abilities, instead she left Thomas to piece up the clues and recklessly ventured out into the city to hunt Jack without a plan whatsoever and that made her not a strong enough character for me. Thomas is amusing for his arrogance (characteristic of his time) and his inappropriateness.
Regarding the romance, this could’ve been a very exciting “love-hate” relationship but it really fell short making it into the insta-love category; I did like the bantering but that relationship had so much more potential!
Anyway, I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book!