Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Mansiscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Thriller/ Romance/ Mystery
Favourite Quote: “Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
Audrey Rose Wadsworth isn’t your typical well off lady of leisure in the 1800’s. She much prefers to spend her time sneaking out to her uncles laboratory to study forensic medicine by performing autopies on the dead.
She wishes to prove that a woman can be just as skilled as a man in society, however, so many believe otherwise. Everyone that is, except her uncle, her brother and her new classmate and her uncles new joint apprentice, Thomas Cresswell.
When bodies start appearing in Whitechapel, some with strong connections to her family that she cannot ignore, Audrey Rose decides to find out who the killer is herself.
‘I could see his mind strategizing and coming up with a thousand reasons why I should not attend his forensic medicines class. Propriety being the least of his worries. Uncle Jonathan sighed. “You’re to come dressed as a boy. And if you so much as utter one word, it will be your first and last time in my classroom. Understand?”
I nodded vigorously. “I promise. I’ll be as silent as the dead.”
“Ah,” Uncle said, putting a hat on and tugging it low, “the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”
Wow. Just wow. Stalking Jack the Ripper is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I absolutely adored the chemistry between Wadsworth and Cresswell.
Against her better judgement, Audrey Rose can’t help but think Thomas is very good looking and pleasingly mysterious, aside from his annoying charm and ability to prove that he is smarter than her which is endlessly frustrating. She has spent so long proving to the society that she is independent and capable, why does she suddenly need to prove to herself to Cresswell too?
Thomas is fascinated with Audrey Rose and her desire to fight for what’s right which is extremely rare in a woman of her station. To him, she is alluring and not easily swoon by his improper attempts at flirting, as much as he tries.
They way they work together to find answers to the murderer stalking women in Whitechapel is a perfect blend of stubbornness, witty sarcasm and determination as well as harmless flirting to keep the readers wanting more.
‘Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes” – he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper – “you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”
Every retort I was thinking fell from my thoughts. As if sensing the shift in the room, he glanced up. If I expected Thomas to feel ashamed by his forwardness, I’d be cursedly wrong again. Brow quirked, his look held a dare.
I wasn’t the sort of girl who backed down, so I kept my gaze locked on his. Issuing my own challenge.’
Kerri was able to bring Jack the Ripper to life and doesn’t hold back on the gruesome deaths that are discovered in his path. She captures the dark grey streets of London extremely well and the detail that goes into the deaths isn’t for the faint hearted. Even though Audrey Rose cuts open corpses in her spare time, she still feels humanly uncomfortable at the slaughtered women who end up on her table which is a good aspect of her character. She fights for what she believes in, no matter how gruesome and horrifying her life becomes as she goes deeper into Jack’s world.
I kept a clear mind during the book as to who could be the serial killer, as I knew other readers were surprised by the twist at the end. I still couldn’t have guessed who it was! The ending was morbid and shocking but it lead to another adventure with Wadsworth and Cresswell which is all anyone wants really 😉
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, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.