I can’t say that I was surprised I liked this book – it had it all, intrigue, thrills, mystery, romance, and a strong female protagonist – but I was surprised how much!
In a time when women were meant to be delicate flowers (the MC’s name is Audrey Rose…how much more flowery can you get?!), our MC breaks the mold by being a woman immensely interested in the “gruesome” practice of cutting human bodies for forensic medicine. Though, nowadays, there exist many female coroners, Audrey Rose was quite advanced for a society that deemed her interests highly unacceptable for a woman.
I really liked Audrey Rose. She’s incredibly smart, and being that I’m a person who can gag at the slightest ‘off’ smell, I’m amazed at her ability to stomach the sight and smell of decomposing bodies. She herself at times describes her lack of fear and disgust as being that of a monster, but would a monster care enough to use their abilities to help others? She does care, and this is why she works so hard at what she does.
Love compels her as well. Love for her father, her brother, and her deceased mother. Her mother was lost five years before to illness, and each member of the family took the loss in different ways. Her father grieved by being afraid of illness and diseases, preferring that his daughter be married and kept safe by a good husband. Nathaniel, her brother, likes to concentrate on material things and keeping an eye on his sister. Audrey Rose’s focus is on science, mainly due to her wish to combat the illness that took away her mother. This is why she studies in her uncle’s laboratory, and this is how she eventually meets Thomas.
I loved Thomas! He was extremely amusing and smart. Though he didn’t appear to be at first, he was quite considerate of Audrey Rose, and once he recognized her amazing abilities, he couldn’t help but be interested in her.
I personally liked the way the romance played out. I didn’t feel it to be instalove (though perhaps others may feel so), but something that grew out of mutual respect (this may be a bit exaggerated, ha ha), and it didn’t hurt that Audrey Rose found Thomas to be handsome. I really enjoyed their back and forth, their banter, and would love to read more about this compelling duo!
Obviously, judging by the title (sorry that I’m only addressing this now, but I couldn’t help but blather on about other things), a big part of this story was about the terror Jack the Ripper was inflicting on London in Audrey Rose’s day. This aspect of the story was very interesting to me, and though the author does address in a note at the end that she had taken some liberties within the actual investigation, I really liked her fresh approach and the final pay-off, because that ending!!! I’ll leave it at that in order to pique your curiosity for this book.
In conclusion, I really liked this book and recommend it if you’re interested in mystery/thrillers with a touch (maybe a little more than a touch) of romance.
I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Maniscalco and seeing what else she has tucked away in that literary mind of hers!
This ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.