Personal Thoughts: I love all things Jack the Ripper! I’ve always found his case to be mysterious and intriguing so pretty much anytime a book wants to further explore the possibilities surrounding his murders, I count myself in. Add to that a female main character pushing the boundaries of societal norms in Victorian London and I am even more enthused.
Plot Summary: Audrey Rose is an atypical seventeen year old who’s the daughter of a lord, but is way more interested in solving crimes and performing autopsies as an apprentice to her uncle than she is in acting proper and finding a husband. She assumes a faux male identity in the evening and sneaks to her uncle’s where she learns about anatomy and how to make incisions on corpses. When Jack the Ripper starts wreaking havoc in London, she’s eager to help solve the case no matter how improper it may be but suddenly things seem to be hitting much closer to home than she expected.
Critique: I thoroughly enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Audrey is an intelligent protagonist and it’s a pleasure to read the story through her eyes. The lengths she is willing to go to follow her passion and break free of societal norms is so refreshing. She does display a certain amount of give and take in her interactions (never thinking her treatment is fair or not worth fighting for) and it makes her drive and tactics that much more plausible. Then there’s Thomas Creswell who is undeniably awkward in a savant-like way and he’s also incredibly charming. He and Audrey become close in their pursuit of Jack the Ripper and the romance between them is adorable. Thomas never assumes she can’t do something because of her gender and he’s very supportive of her extracurricular activities. Another thing I loved about Stalking Jack the Ripper is that despite taking place in the late 1800’s, the writing is very accessible. There are certain nods to the time period that are slipped in, but it’s never a challenge to follow and the communication between characters reads crystal clear. Be warned that if you’re a bit squeamish, all of the medical terms during the autopsies may get to you.
Do I Recommend?: Definitely! I really enjoyed this story despite being able to predict the ending and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula!