Ripper Amy Carol Reeves Book Review

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.

Ripper Amy Carol Reeves Book Cover


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.

Other reviews of Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves:

Bookworm 1858
The Book Cellar

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I have an ARC of this one but I’ve been seeing a lot of mixed reviews. I’ll probably get to reading it eventually though, since I have a physical copy…

  2. I didn’t mention it in my review but I also thought the language seemed wrong. I wasn’t sure to describe how it felt off to me and then of course other elements bothered me more but I am glad to see someone else mention it.

  3. Grr. Third so-so review of this book. I really wanted to read and like it because I have this weird fascination with Jack the Ripper. I mean, come on. It’s still a mystery! But I definitely don’t think I’ll pick this one up. You’re so right: language is a HUGE part of authenticity.

  4. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now but I keep reading ‘meh’ reviews (not to say that your review is meh, but that lots of people think the book is meh!)

    I may not pick this up after all (unless I can get it free or very cheap) 🙁

    • Yeah, I’m definitely not the only person who feels meh about this book, but at the same time, two of the reviews I linked about, Tara and Erica both liked Ripper, so you might enjoy it.

  5. I resisted requesting this one (a rare feat for me) and now am glad I did. I don’t know if I would have picked up on the ‘like I said,’ but ‘weird’ definitely sticks out like a sore thumb. I actually just read an article about how a lot of words we think are modern aren’t and decided to look it up. Apparently, the modern usage of weird began in 1815, so she could conceivably use the word. Weird, huh?


    • I wish I had resisted, but I was all like I LOVE READING HISTORICAL FICTION. Then I kind of regretted it.


      Also? Fascinating about how usage began in 1815, but I kind of wonder if it was used in the same way we use it today.

      • Not sure, but I thought it was worth mentioning. That article I read was crazy, because I was like no way they used the word ‘dude.’ Wait, they did?

        BUT the author (I wish I could remember who it was so I could find the article again, sigh) stressed that she avoids those words, accurate thought they may be, because they do throw a reader out of the novel, just like ‘weird’ did to you. So whether it’s accurate or not, from some viewpoints, it could still be seen as a literary misstep.

        Of course, as bad as using out of place modern terms is overdoing the old-timey speak. I find that all the time in Austen spinoffs. It’s like they wrote the book while clinging to a thesaurus. Ugh. Sometimes words are used incorrectly. And sometimes a particular old-sounding word is peppered liberally throughout the text, like ‘whilst.’ I hate that word now.

  6. Yeah, I thought about reading the book but I read the synopsis and mostly because I’m shallow like that, the cover didn’t appeal to me too much so I was like, okay, I’ll read something else! But I get (and concur with) what you mean by language and authenticity. It doesn’t have to be archaic language but it still needs to flow with the times.

    • Right, I don’t need thee and thou and like language NO one uses, but at least I need that sense of time and place and I don’t get that when I’m jarred out by language that doesn’t quite feel accurate.