- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
- YA Historical Fiction, Mystery
- My Rating: ★★★★
“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
I don’t know what it is, but I find the Victorian era such a great setting for historical fiction – proof of this is evident in my love and appreciation for Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories which mainly take place during the Victorian Era.
When I heard about this book, I was so hyped to read it because, aside from its Victorian setting, it’s meant to be a twist on the story of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper, whom I have wikipedia’d the heck out of just because of pure interest in the past.
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose is your typical, Victorian-era wealthy girl – born and raised to meet society’s expectations of her. But much to her strict father’s dismay (and pretty much everyone else in her life), she finds her passion in studying forensic science and examining cadavers with her uncle in his lab. When Jack the Ripper starts making headlines, Audrey finds herself at the center of an investigation which proves to be much closer to her world than she would ever imagine.
Audrey is a pretty cliche feminist character who constantly complains about everyone’s expectations of her. The feminist messages throughout the book were kind of over the top. But there were some really awesome quotes from this that had me pumping my fist, yelling “Yassssss, girl!”
“Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that.”
There were very few times I was annoyed with the heroine as I found her to be sassy, smart, and passionate about who she is. She tends to be hot-tempered and often blows up at Thomas, but he can be pretty saucy at times. Also, she is constantly suppressing her opinions because she hates to be a disappointment to her father and brother, a fact which will inevitably result in her exploding at some point.
If you need me to name one reason to read this book, its name is Thomas Cresswell. He is saucy, arrogant and an absolute genius. He is my dream man – the perfect combination of Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices and Sherlock Holmes. His deduction skills are so…sexy and his over-confidence is charming and hilarious. I thought he and Audrey have such great chemistry together, he knows which buttons to push, and the way he leaves her at a loss for words throughout the book is so satisfying and swoon-worthy. What makes Audrey so wonderful in this pairing is that she is equally capable of leaving him breathless (although, I do think that Thomas still ends up with the upper-hand in the flirtation category).
I think the main reason I couldn’t give this story a full five stars is that Maniscalco’s solution to the mystery was just too obvious. From the first couple chapters I already had my guesses about the identity of Jack the Ripper and some other details, and then about halfway through I was confident in my theories. It’s sort of hard to keep the mystery as clouded as possible til the end when the book is advertised in a way to lead you to believe that the killer’s identity is someone close to Audrey. The ending was just ok, but it definitely left me excited for what’s to come in the sequels! I’m hoping the next two planned books still follow Audrey as the ending of book 1 has led me to believe, because I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her in the future!
Verdict: This was a really easy read and despite its predictability, I still found it really enjoyable. Thomas Cresswell is officially the next addition to my bookish list of boyfriends!