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Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper.
For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel Murderer brought terror to London’s East End, slashing women’s throats and disembowelling them. London’s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute.
The lives of these five women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.
For those who want a general overview of the social circumstances of Whitechapel and the East End of London at the time and also for readers who would like to get a different perspective on the murders, this book offers both, a good read and an important resource.Author Translator
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The secret lives of Jack the Rippers Victims is a very straight to the point account of Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly lives. A great book for those who are just getting started in Ripperology and want something, which is to the point, or for those looking to understand and study the life of women in the Victorian era.For the Love of History
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The author is compassionate about the women and their lives. He manages to make them more than just ‘prostitutes’ as they are often depicted.Rosie Writes
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This book is definitely something that needs to be spread around more. This talks about the lives of the 5 official victims of Jack the Ripper, it does mention the details of their deaths, but focuses on their lives. I think sometimes with Jack the Ripper related books and articles, we kinda forget that these women were real people. They were wives, sisters, mums, daughters, they deserve to be known as more than those ‘prostitutes’ that were killed in 1888. We even discover that some of them weren’t even properly prostitutes, and that they only did this occasionally (not as a full occupation as some women did) as a desperate way of getting money. These women were suffering, they’d gone through terrible ordeals in their lives and were down on their luck and ended up being murdered. I think these sorts of books should be more important to the community of people interested in Jack the Ripper. This book did remind me of a slimmed-down version of The Five, but I liked that. It was concise, but gave a sufficient amount of detail to explain these women’s lives. We were given facts, nothing was sugar-coated or covered up. I thought this was well written and a definite must-read for those fascinated with the Ripper, as I want people to remember that these women were more than just murder victims. Let us remember them, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.Life and Tea Blog
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It's well research, well published... a good way to start off getting into the casesLil's Vintage World
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Hume charted their lives and told their stories in a compassionate way, concentrating on what's known about them. Reading the book I was happy that I live in the 21st century because life was tough in the Victorian England, especially for women.GoodReads, Constant Reader
I highly recommend this book for everyone interested in history.
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I highly recommend this book if you have any interest in women’s history, particularly around the Victorian era, and true crime. It is incredibly well written and Hume presents his subject with candour.The Borgia Bull
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Found this book a very Interesting look at the victims of Jack the Ripper A look at the lives of the victims.Photographs added to the story of his victims.NetGalley, Abby Siverman
When you think of Jack the Ripper's victims, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Aside from the murders themselves, you probably think of the women as prostitutes. And although that was the case, there was more more to them than their profession. This book manages to explore many other aspects of their lives and personalities, and it also humanizes them in a way that very few books have. Definitely recommended to those who want to learn about something new about these unsolved murders rather than yet another rehash of the basic Jack the Ripper story.NetGalley, April A. Taylor
In The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims these victims are provided with their own personal chapter, to tell their own individual stories, which I felt an appropriate way to address the subject. So often these stories can become mixed up and garbled by trying to interlace too many narratives at once, however, with each individual chapter dedicated to each one of these women it serves an ideal medium in which to tell their tales.NetGalley, Tomas Stanger
The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims is a welcome addition to the writings on the Whitechapel Murders.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Carolyn Farrell
I wanted to read this book because I am really interested in true crime, but find it a little irritating that the victims themselves are often forgotten, with just the perpetrator/suspects being written about. This book seeks to redress that balance, so if you want to learn more about Jack the Ripper, this is not the book for you. However if you want to meet his victims and learn about their lives, this is the book for you...
This book gives an incredibly vivid insight into what brought each of these ordinary, hard working, likeable women, to the point where they are walking the streets of London, and meet such a violent, horrid end. "In reality, Catherine Eddowes had been hardworking, and determined to make an independent living. It had been mainly bad luck, and the odd mistake, that had left her wretched and destitute in the streets of East London, where she met such a violent end".
This book is not an easy read, but it is absolutely fascinating. There are photos of each of the women, including mortuary ones, which are hard to look at. The one that affects me most, though, is of Kate, taken before her life descends into wretchedness, sitting graceful and beautiful, looking straight into the camera.
I am very glad the author has taken the time to research each of these women, and bring them to life, focussing on them, not the monster who ended their lives so violently. An excellent book, highly recommended.
Article: 'Hard lives of women who were to become victims of Ripper' as featured bySouth Wales Echo, 6th December 2019 – words by Brian Lee
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Julie Rhinehart
With many books and movies written about Jack the Ripper this book focuses on who his victims were, what choices lead them to this point in life and why they have been one of the Ripper’s victims.
In The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims, Dr Robert Hume takes the 5 women murdered by Jack the Ripper from prostitutes to fully realised people.NetGalley, Sephi Coleman-Tunney
This book explores the lives of these women from their birth right through to their funerals and explores the tragedies and triumphs of their lives. These women had families and were loved just like any other person however history remembers them by their eventual occupations after falling on hard times and living in a society where women were largely treated as the property of men. There is no criticism of the women's choice to enter into sex work and Hume does not deny that all 5 women did sell sex.
In the final words of the book, Hume draws a painful comparison to the Yorkshire Ripper whose victims suffered a similar fate of being reduced to being simply known as prostitutes.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Kay McLeer
This was such a good read, the book itself was well-written and researched. I was interested from the beginning to the end, it was able to provide new information and kept it interesting. Overall I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to more from the author.
Article: 'The story of Jack The Ripper's victims' as featured byKentOnline, 4th November 2019 – words by Alan Smith
I have read dozens of books about Jack the Ripper but they all had one thing in common, they concentrated on the identity of the murderer, and although they contained details of the victims, it was never in this much detail. Robert Hume presents us with clear and concise biographies of the Ripper's victims, and whilst it is tempting to think of them as all being prostitutes and the Ripper's despicable acts of violence and ultimate murders of them as some kind of cleansing process, their backgrounds, gone into in this much detail, shows them as something completely different. You will have to, you must read this brilliant book, it puts a whole new perspective into the canon of literature about the most infamous murderer of the last two centuries.Books Monthly
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jenny Little
I really enjoyed The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims. The book discussed each of the victims individually giving us a brief insight into their lives before they were murdered. I also thought it was a good touch putting some photographs of the victims in the book too putting faces to their names.
Article: 'Former Ramsgate history teacher publishes tale of Jack the Ripper’s victims' as featured byIsle of Thanet News – words by Kathy Bailes
As featured byIsle of Thanet Gazette, 25th October 2019
As featured byDover Express, 24th October 2019
As featured inIrish Examiner, October 2019
I think there is a general sense that the focus on the women in this case was a long time coming! The research and rehearsal of lives and events is lovely.NetGalley, Heidi Gardner
Well researched historical account of Jack the Ripper's victims and their backstory. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the women whose lives came to a grisly end at the hands of London's most notorious serial killer. While most know these women as prostitutes, this book tells the story of the events in these women's lived that lead to them having to ultimately have this label. These stories are heart wrenching tales of fiercely independent women just trying to survive. The author also uses this not only to tell the story of these women, but the world that was London's East End in 1888.NetGalley, Marissa Giles
Well researched and descriptive.NetGalley, Alan D.D.
This one was super interesting. You hear a lot about "Jack The Ripper" and who he could have been, but you never hear too much about the victims. In this book the author goes into details about the five victims. Their family backgrounds, what brought them to London, and, of course, how they were murdered. If you are a Ripper fan, then this will be an interesting book to dive into.NetGalley, Eve Recinella
Dr. Robert Hume has given us a thorough look at the lives of Jack the Ripper's victims. The book is well researched and written.NetGalley, Heather Bennett
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Susan Johnston
This book looks at the five women and rather than judging, it simply tells the stories of how they came to such an awful end. Not one started out in a way that would have indicated how it would turn out. Some, like Mary Kelly, lived in much better circumstances. Drink was often both a means for blotting out the worst of their existences and the cause of the circumstances in the first place. Deaths of love ones often set them on paths different to those they might have chosen. Violence often chased them into corners from which they would not escape. They were women the reader would be forgiven for pitying. If not that, the reader, at the very least, has the chance to see each as the multi-faceted people they once were. Kudos for compassion and clarity.
I think everyone must have heard of Jack the Ripper. But have you heard of his victims? Do you know any of their names? We get detailed background of the five victims. The book has been well researched into the women's backgrounds. Pictures of the victims post mortem are also included. These women worked the streets to aid their struggle to live. This is a well written and researched book.NetGalley, Louise Wilson
Dr Hume has given a surprising insight into the hidden lives of these ladies and their struggle with life in 1888, and then Jack the Ripper comes into their lives. Dr Hume seems to be a very knowledgeable person in the history of this important topic. I was very impressed with the writing and now wish to learn more about this time in England's history.NetGalley, Vanessa Dukovic
Excellent book on the history of Jack the Ripper's victims. It was so interesting to read about a crime from the victims' perspective. We often place too much importance on the murderer than the peoples' whose lives were savagely interrupted. This book shed light on the history of Ripper's victims who were otherwise forgotten because they were, at one point, prostitutes.NetGalley, Christina Dunn
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Hayley Bruce
I love reading about this era and how the people lived. I found this book really informative about the victims rather than jack the ripper.
A well researched book, I was very impressed.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the many photos that accompanied each woman’s story, whether it be images of the victims themselves or of the area in which the crimes were committed. It is good to see the women in happier times instead of just in the mortuary photos that feature in most other books about the subject.NetGalley, Karen O'Hare
The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims is a very readable book for anyone interested in finding out a bit more about the five canonical victims or, indeed, for anyone interested in the social history of the poor in the Victorian era.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Cristie Underwood
The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book. There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
Everyone knows the story of Jack the Ripper and possibly the names of the victims but what about the lives of those females before they were brutally taken.NetGalley, Amy McElroy
This book delves into the lives of the victims, where they came from, who they were and how they ended up in Whitechapel to ultimately become a victim of Jack the Ripper.
I've read a few books about Jack the Ripper but have never found one that delves into so much detail about the victims lives.
All 5 seem to have made some mistakes or fallen on hard times resulting in them having to move to Whitechapel to find cheaper lodgings.
During the times of Jack the Ripper the East End of London was occupied by many slums and many females found a shortage of work forced them to the only source of income available to them, prostitution.
The book is very well researched but may not be for the squeamish as it does contain mortuary photographs of all the victims. This was a fascinating insight in to the lives and conditions of those whose unfortunate circumstances may have made them the victims they became.
The importance of this book is that it focuses on real people – women who have been callously marginalised elsewhere.NetGalley, Hilary White
A fascination with serial killers was always lurking within me, even as a wee tot. As a teen / young adult, I prefaced inviting new guests to my home with, "Don't judge me by my bookshelf!" (I still use this disclaimer, but with a thrown in, "or my Netflix queue!"). Of all the years that I have spent studying psychology, serial killers, violent crimes, modus operandi, etc., I have not taken the time to read about the victims beyond the basics (age, gender, etc.). Now that I am faced with it, I think that The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims is the first book I have read solely about / dedicated to telling the stories of the victims. Until this book, I never quite allowed myself to consider that some of Jack the Ripper's victims could have been fascinating or interesting. This book was a reminder that as a society and as individuals, we have become so desensitized. This book has made me really think beyond what's intriguing about the killer and consider that these victims were indeed people with their own stories that needed to be told. I would recommend this book to just about everyone I speak bookish with.NetGalley, Bethlynne Pickens
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Rebecca B
Hume here focuses on the lives of Jack the Rippers victims and the book is full of little snapshots into a woman’s life in London/society at this time. It is a somber and disturbing read reminding us of just how at the mercy of men (even if they weren’t killers) these women were.
I was very pleased to find that ‘Jack’ and his identity was not the focus here, so many books slip down that road, instead these women are given a voice separate to the horror of their deaths.
As it should be.
I love true crime and this book really did it in for me. My skin was crawling.NetGalley, Randi Maguire
Jack the Ripper is one of my favourite serial killers so this book captivated me from the get go.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Susan Mahaffey
The five victims were women living in London with the hope of finding a better life. They were looking for jobs during a time that women were given the worse jobs and very little money. Four of the five women were English while one woman came from Sweden. These women had written ballads, lived on country estates, ran coffee houses, and work with printers. Women were living in a time where women had lived during a time of growing poverty and homelessness. These women died as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The author gives a detailed explanation of the women’s lives starting from childhood and going forward in their lives to death. He also details what life was like in the White Chapel area and similar areas. I got the impression that it was a very bad time to be a woman. Women were not treated very well to say the least. It’s a humbling experience to read what these five women went through to live their lives. It is a book that I will not forget.
It's fantastic that this book focuses on the victims, their lives and who they are instead of the mystery and savage nature of their murderer.NetGalley, Kimmy S
A mind opening look into the lives of the women who were brutally murdered by a sadistic killer. It is well researched, well thought out and executed perfectly.
A book that looks at the victims rather than at Jack the Ripper.NetGalley, Tracey Shults
It shares information about them which makes them real people.
I found this book incredibly interesting.
The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims by Robert Hume is a piece of nonfiction that decided to focus on the victims instead of being just another run of the mill Ripper book. That was what intrigued me about the book. I was fascinated to learn more about each of these women and their lives in lower working class late Victorian London. I found this book to be quite successful. The book was easily accessible for any level history fan. I found all the little bits of information about larger Victorian society to be very interesting. A great way to set the women in the world they lived in. I also enjoyed all the pictures scattered throughout the book. Hume provides plenty of evidence history for that he writes. I did feel that at times he speculated too much about people's motivations, but it doesn’t hinder the reading experiences. Overall, I found the book to be very interesting. I learned a lot about these women. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Ripper murders, true crime fans, social history fans or dark history fans.NetGalley, Rachelle Robison
An interesting walkthrough of the background of Jack the Ripper' s victims. This book gives a well-researched biography of each of the women. It includes where they were born, their early lives and their individual paths to becoming women of the night and ending with their tragic deaths. No attempt is made to identify Jack, which is appropriate because this book is about his victims and how they met their horrible ends.NetGalley, Pam Chantrell
More than just simple sacrifices - here the myth of the simple is cleared up and the lives of the rib victims are illuminated in more detail, which casts a completely different view of what is happening. The book depicts an accurate picture of the women of the time.NetGalley, Nureeni Lem
Conclusion: History can be so exciting!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Carmen L
An accurate account of the Whitechapel Murders of 1888, focusing on their victims rather than on the character of Jack the Ripper; by placing the spotlight on their personal lives.
A great book that should be read together with “Who was Jack the Ripper? All suspects revealed”, written by the H Division Crime Club and published by Pen & Sword.
There is quite a bit of information I had not read about before in this book and the usual main concept, that of identifying Jack, didn't seem to be needed at all. There is no doubt the inability of the police to identify a viable suspect in such a high profile case has kept it in the literary limelight for over 130 years and I am sure many more books will follow this one. In reality it is quite possible the perpetrator and his reasons for killing could be both ordinary and mundane in nature and not worthy of our attention. I have a feeling we may never find out if that is the case or not but there will always be those who investigate and those who read about it afterwards.NetGalley, Tracy Wood
Interesting research on the victims of Jack the Ripper. The focus I've read in the past has always had the focus and speculation on who Jack the Ripper could be. This book comes at it from a different perspective, and gives insight into the lives and problems of poverty and abuse the victims suffered. It gives them a face and a voice, and less dismissive as "just a prostitute" as many have done then and now... could see this as a great tool to have in a research library, and would be useful for anyone wanting to know more about what happen and to who. Also, a lot of photos from the area really help bring the issue to life as well. Highly recommend this book.NetGalley, Kaye Temanson
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jantine Kampes-Schimmel
Everyone knows Jack the Ripper, but what do we know about his victims?
I thought I knew a lot about the London of this period. I guess I was wrong. Or better, I recognized many things that were written about in this book, but I never made the link to the five women that were killed by Jack! I learned much from this book, and it has changed my view of this part of history. It has become no less grim or dark, even the opposite. It has also made the victims more human.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jamie Wickam
I was so glad to see this book, as it focuses on the victims of the crimes as opposed to the perpetrator. It was a well-written reporting of facts told as a story for each victim in the order of her death.
Even without dramatic flair, the abject poverty in which these, and other East Londoners lived is made tragically clear. The trajectory of these women's lives could have been so different if not for, as the author states, "the fickleness of fate - unemployment, abandonment, homelessness, or the death of a parent, husband or child".
The book is meticulously researched and there are pictures and documentation of the places referenced. Pictures of the victims post-mortem are also included. The historical backdrop of the political and social climate of London at the time is really brought to life.
I highly recommend this book as a commemoration to those poor women who had the misfortune to cross paths with a killer. Their lives were important, and these are their stories.
This was a fantastic and thoroughly well researched book about the victims of Jack the Ripper. I liked the fact that it focused more on the women and their life stories, as opposed to the usual angle of working out who Jack might have been, and thought the overall tone of the book made it a very accessible read.NetGalley, Amelia Louise
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Karen Kenyon
This is a very well researched and written book. It was nice to finally read a book that focused on the victims as opposed to Jack The Ripper.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Tara Keating
I absolutely loved the fact this book focuses on the lives of his victims, rather than the infamy and notoriety he gained, to remember the women as the important ones, women with lives who were murdered and tortured completely undeserving of their fate. Well researched and put together, great phots, illustrations and news clippings to illustrate their stories even better. This book is a great new fresh perspective and puts the main focus where it should always have been, innocent women who were murdered.
A fascinating insight into the intricate inner lives of Jack the Ripper's victims, this novel asks you to look beyond the historical hype and regard these women as what they truly were - human beings undeserving of their fate. Filled with historical details about the time and Victorian culture, plus never be seen photographs, this book is an excellent primer of the infamous crimes.NetGalley, Kinsey Fiene
Everyone knows the case of Jack the Ripper and how he terrorized London, but many might not know his victims. This book details the background and lives of all 5 of the Ripper's victims. Dr. Hume brings their histories into the forefront and tells you each of their stories, from as early as is recorded up until their brutal murders. Scattered throughout are also pictures and drawings from that time period, which really helps bring the facts to life. It's so interesting to read about these women and see what struggles they all had, from hard marriages to alcoholism. If you're a fan of true crime, or even just history itself, this is definitely something to check out.NetGalley, Heather Harrington
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Tanya Riley
I’ve read several books about the Jack the Ripper cases and was thrilled for the opportunity to review this book. It lived up to my expectations in a way that none other have. The books primary focus being the victims of the Ripper, it is unique in itself. The book is so well researched, and each victim comprehensively given a history and a story of their own. These woman’s unfortunate demises intertwining them, but also the commonality of their misfortune in life, addiction, family demise and marital failure. I learned a lot about London’s conditions for Victorian women. I would recommend this book to fans of history, crime, and society.
Finally, a book that looks more into the lives of the Ripper’s victims rather than giving all of the attention to the killer himself. From what it shows, the victims have often been misrepresented up to this point. It discusses the false belief at the time that the women chose to be prostitutes rather than be respectable housewives, like they had a choice. Also, how they were often portrayed as dirty, drunken women, stumbling around looking for their next hookup. I found this honest look into the victim’s lives much more interesting than yet another ho-hum attempt at guessing who the Ripper is again. A fresh look at the story with a bit more realistic look at how things really were for poor women back then in many cases, instead of the hogwash that’s been carried down through the years.NetGalley, Valerie Shampine
It shares information on each of the victims, making them more real people rather than characters in a story.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Siobhan Sheeran
This was a fantastic book, retelling the lives of the victims of Jack The Ripper. It was such an interesting read, it had me gripped from page one, I was transported to the 1800s and felt I was a bystander witnessing this ladies' lives. Absolutely loved this book, couldn't recommend it highly enough!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Donna Maguire
I am a massive fan of anything to do with Jack the Ripper and I have read a lot of books that cover the subject and I have to say that this one was superb and one of the best I have read!
The book was concise and I thought the content was excellent. The author has taken the time to put the spotlight on the victims and their lives, not on the infamous killer and who they may have been.
I think the book portrayed the victims in a good light, it showed just how hard it was for these women in the East End of Victorian London. It must have been a horrific thing to live through, you have the lack of housing, possibility that you won’t have money to eat and the only way you think you earn money is to sell your body and ultimately put your life at risk, it must have been an awful choice to make when you know that there is a killer prowling the streets and you could potentially be next...
It is 5 stars from me for this one, it is a well written book, I loved the content and thought it was superb overall. Very highly recommend, a must for fans of the Jack the Ripper mystery and true crime!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Mallory Haws
History often likes to plat righteous and forget that the women destroyed by "Jack the Ripper" were real individuals, not just stereotypes or sensationalist corpses. This highly-detailed account uncovers the biographies of these victims, illustrating that economics drove them to act as they did. Reiterating that these women were not low in intellect nor deficient in moral value, but constrained by economic reality to struggle to survive, they are seen as doubly victimized: mirdered brutally, then blamed for their lifestyle choices. This narrative offers a fresh new perspective.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sarah Betts
I have been waiting for this wonderfully compassionate book for years and didn't even realize it.
So much obsession over Ripper mythology and so many people treat Mary Ann, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane like they were somehow deserving of their tragic fates.
I feel this book is a very important read.
An interesting look on the five murders of these unfortunate women, like Hume says, are only refereed to as "fallen" or "loose" women. I, for one, had never read much about these women's lives before, and by reading about them I feel as the murders of them are to be looked upon as even more horrifying than they usually are. These five individuals all lived rough with very little, they had to survive somehow, and it seems like they just happen to have picked up the wrong client at the wrong time which led to their deaths.NetGalley, Sarah Matsson-Klingzell
Hume presents each victim's backstory, their family background and how they ended up in London's East End and ultimately how they met their end and how their bodies were discovered. The text is easy to follow and he also presents several photographs and drawings of places, official records, morgue photographs and the like to portray the text which is a good way of opening up the cases to the reader. It was a nice angle to not mention the killer as much and put the focus on the victims and their story, which all have been demoted to nothingness in the hunt for the identity of the killer.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Charlene Kearnes
Wow, what an amazing read. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a matter of hours. I’ve read many Jack the Ripper books where authors promise to provide you with the true identity of the killer, so it was refreshing to find a book that went the opposite way and spoke about the victims and their lives. They have forever just been names and photos of their mutilated bodies, but this book makes them human and you can’t help but feel sorry for them during their entire life. Very well written and researched.