Review: People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield.


Marry in haste . . . Murder at leisure?

London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes.

Thomas’s behavior becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets. The gentle caresses she enjoyed on her wedding night are now just a honeyed memory.

When the first woman is murdered in Whitechapel, Susannah’s interest is piqued. But as she follows the reports of the ongoing hunt for the killer, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time Thomas stays out late, another victim is found dead.

Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man they call Jack the Ripper? 

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On receiving this book it moved straight to the top of my TBR pile, I was hugely excited to read it, it sounded like it would be amazing and I would love it. For me, the best I can say is that it is ok.

The first half of the book felt very slow, nothing was captivating me or making me want to read further. I kept going because I thought SOMETHING momentous must happen at some point. I really wanted to hear more about the ripper murders and how Thomas may be implicated, I feel this wasn’t explored enough, other than a few coincidences, it stayed very ambiguous right to the end. The second half read better, the last quarter the best.

The characters just didn’t gel for me, I was unable to like, relate, or empathise with any of them in the way I feel is needed to invest you in the story, particularly with Susannah. I did enjoy towards the end where certain things were unveiled that she had done in her past and that gave a little more reason to her attitude and thoughts throughout.

If you are looking for a book based on the Jack the Ripper murders, this book may not be for you.

If you are looking for one exploring Victorian marriage, society, women’s place, the poor, and underground LGBTQ cultures then this may be for you…I feel if I had entered into reading with the latter description I may have enjoyed the book more as my expectations would have been met from the get-go.

Thank you to the publishers Head of Zeus for sending me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

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