DNF at 22%, the start of Chapter 14.
The first thing that I have to say is that I really, honestly, thought I'd love this book. I wanted to. I love historical fictions and I know A LOT about Jack the Ripper.
But I know far too much about British history and the Ripper case to fully appreciate this book. I was left a little confused, and the massacre of the Ripper story just didn't sit well for me - I'm all for being inspired by historical events but it felt a little disrespectful to the victims that their story was messed around with so much. I felt it would have been better with Ripper-inspired murders rather than the author inventing whole new victims.
It was a good idea, but my goodness, it wasn't executed well. For me anyway. Some people might love it. If you don't know much about British history and the Ripper cases, and you don't mind countless (and often with patronising explanations thrown in) Cockney rhyming slang in the text, then you'll probably enjoy it.
The thing that annoyed me the most was the horrific characterisations of the British characters. It honestly felt as though the author had stumbled upon a wiki-page of Cockney rhyming slang and thought "I know, I'll write a book and cram as many of these sayings into it as possible!" It made for dated speech with the English characters. There was a "glossary" of sorts at the front of the book with the meanings of a lot of the phrases, but despite this the reader was treated like an idiot and every time a phrase was used within the story, the character would define it in what felt like a rather patronising way. Especially when it happened again and AGAIN with the same phrase. And it's over used.Georgie flushed scarlet thinking about Cecilia's long, shapely bacon and eggs, and her beautiful dark mince pies.
Katie is quite the little Mary Sue. She lived in Boston for practically her WHOLE life, but can easily affect an English accent. And her parents are dead, but hey, her sister's a famous rock star!
One of the first quotes I picked out was: She'd read so many Victorian novels that she was starting to feel she'd have been better off in that time period. It was safer and much more romantic.
And I just stared at the page. Safer? SAFER? Even the most basic of history lessons would teach you that this was not the case, and most certainly not in London where this book is set. If you didn't die of cholera or some other disease, then you'd probably starve to death or be murdered or mutilated in some horrific accident. And then the stench. The stench of the industrial age, smoggy skies, millions of unwashed bodies and poor sanitation. There's no way that's romantic.
And that wasn't the end of the inaccuracies - historical or cultural. Heck, the author claims that Hogwarts is an English boarding school. ENGLISH! And then there's Oscar Wilde (oh yes, just one of the famous writers our Mary Sue meets) who was laughable. And so unbelievable. And poor Mary Kelly (actual Ripper victim) is described as a Marilyn Monroe lookalike. And the English apparently like to say things like "ass over teakettle". Ass? I've never heard anyone say ass. It's a very American term.
I was provided with a copy via NetGalley for the purpose of review.