1888 is a year that evokes gas lights, horse drawn carriages, propriety and terror in the streets of London. 1888 is the year Jack The Ripper became a household name as he committed his Whitechapel murders. Y’all they never found out who the real ripper was and so fiction totally fills this void. Ripper by debut author Amy Carol Reeves examines the Whitechapel murders from the perspective of Arabella Sharp, 17 year old privileged hospital volunteer.
Arabella Sharp’s mom died in Dublin, so she got sent to live in London with her prim and proper uptight grandma. Grams thinks Arabella doesn’t appreciate her situation enough and makes her volunteer at the Whitechapel hospital. There Arabella, also called Abbi, meets like three romantic contenders, gets visions about the Ripper and decides she wants to be a doctor.
Y’all, Ripper didn’t work for me. I feel picky writing this review, but I like my historical fiction to feel authentic. And language, to me, is a HUGE part of authenticity. When a character dropped the word ‘weird’ as in ‘It would seem weird if I focused on the old painting too much’ or when a character goes ‘but like I said’ (emphasis mine), I was instantly snapped out of the story. But that is my quirk and not necessarily yours.
Also, I just could not get behind the multiple love interests in Ripper. Like, at one point it feels like a love square rather than a love triangle because one of the guys Arabella is presented with is super mysterious and has a connection with her. BUT she’s also into two of the young doctors she works with. So it turns into a triangle rather than a square. Then Abbi chooses, but there’s confusion on my end as to whether the other guy was really out of the running. Like, I was never sure if she was back into a certain character or not. And I never really felt a spark of romantic chemistry while reading.
Alas, Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves was not the book for me. Don’t let that stop you from reading though, because several of my friends really enjoyed Ripper. I truly believe that we all read and experience books differently, so may Ripper will be the book for you.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.