“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
― Kerri Maniscalco,
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Standalone or Series? Series (Book 1 of 3)
Published: September 20, 2016
Stalking Jack the Ripper Rating: No plans, empty house, and a bubble bath complete with a glass of Rose’.
Oh yeah. That good. So glad this was a draw from my TBR Jar.
But seriously, I enjoyed every minute of it. I have always had such a soft spot for historical fiction and SJtR met all my preconceived expectations. Here is the Goodreads summary:
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
Now, I’ve seen a few reviewers post comments on a the fact Audrey Rose has “21st century attitude.” I tend to agree: Audrey as the MC is headstrong, independent, cares absolutely zero for finding a marital match or needlework, is fierce, intelligent, and (IMO) a tad reckless. However, I found a balance in her character since there are singular moments of absolute kindness and even a bit of submissiveness. THE ONLY SLIGHT I FOUND was against the other female characters. They all seemed to either fit into the (a) evil category or (b) insubstantial category. I really would’ve liked to have seen another female character that Audrey Rose “clicked with” but I suppose we also needed to see her in a completely different light than her surrounding counterparts. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.
Audrey’s father is a character with sharp, jagged edges due to tragedy. I couldn’t decide at first if I liked him or hated him. He had moments of such sincerity but then a wall would come crashing down. Her brother (while a total posh) was the only softness in the household: he cares for Audrey in a much more understanding way than their father.
Now, Audrey’s uncle I found simply fascinating. He’s a no-nonsense, type-A, man of science. His home/lab was my favorite setting of the book with its intense atmosphere and all its oddities. Her uncle provides Audrey Rose the opportunity to study beneath him at the college he teaches at and at his home. This alone made me like him – he didn’t view women as mindless, pretty birds to be seen and not heard.
Enter Thomas Cresswell.
“Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes”—he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper—“you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”
Swoon, friends, swoon.
He is arrogant, charming, brilliant. I adored him from the first page he came to life on. The relationship between Cresswell and Audrey Rose is not the focal point of the book (I don’t think) but it’s definitely what held my interest. More so than the serial killer mystery. I know. Sad. But he challenges her, stands up to her, and has enough “gentleman” in him to be dashing.
Did I just say “dashing”? Yup. Sure did.
Without spoiling anything for you – you’re already aware one of these men is the infamous Jack the Ripper, right?
I’ll leave you with that.
(P.S. – someone donated this to Dulaney Library in Salisbury. If you’d like to get your hands on it, that’s where I first picked it up!)