I’d been sitting on this one for a while, the fact that I chose to read over Christmas is a bit puzzling, but none-the-less, I’m glad (in a twisted way) that I finally picked up! Admittedly, I was hoping this story would go differently as it actually started quite how I liked, but it was overall (not surprisingly) a pretty dark, depressing story.
Let me explain. I’ve heard of Jack the Ripper, murderer of prostitutes in London in the late 1800’s, and curiosity got the better of me to request this book. But what a wonderful idea to hear it from the viewpoint of his wife! And I did do some research after I read the book, which I will quickly summarize.
Jack the Ripper to this day is not known. There are some theories, and James Maybrick, as Jack, is a working theory. A diary was found of his maybe 20 years back, and is referred to in this book, that held some never publicized details. His wife, Florence, Florie, is a real person as well, who was in fact convicted of killing her husband, and the main facts in the story are true. So this book goes back and forth between Florie’s viewpoint, James’ (Jack’s) diary, and between present day (in the storyline) and how they courted, married, and lived (the time of the murders.) It was quite confusing to keep track of, especially since there were no paragraphs in my ARC (maybe there are in the hard copy?)
That all being said, I pushed through. The book started out how I wanted it to. A beautiful romance between James and Florie. When I stated earlier that I had hoped things would go differently, I really wanted Jack to be a true alter-ego of James (loving husband at home, murdered at night), when actually James was a pretty rotten person, at least to his wife. But I enjoyed going back and forth between his home life and his murdering life and living it through Florie’s eyes. You can’t help but feel for her at times, but no one was truly innocent. The working theory throughout the book is that Florie, his wife, is the reason Jack the Ripper existed.
The book continues the story long after Jack’s death, which as I mentioned, Florie was convicted of, but the reader gets all the facts and can decide for themselves what they think (I’ll hold it there on this one!) It bounces back and forth between good times and bad for her and does have a settling ending. Florie possesses the knowledge of who her husband really was and is very calculating in what she should or shouldn’t do with that knowledge, which is fascinating.
Overall definitely not a happy read, but one that challenged me, kept me interested, and I would highly recommend if this subject peaks your interest at all!
A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper’s Wife reimagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.
“Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend.”
It begins as a fairytale romance–a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.
From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James’s secrets are infinitely darker–he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband’s depravity until she discovers his diary–and in it, a litany of bloody deeds. . .