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. . .

Kensington 368 pages

  • Reviews

Gaele Hi

almost 6 years ago

A twist on my more usual and familiar historical fiction reads, Brandy Purdy has taken two people from the time of Jack the Ripper in London, and used her imagination and research to build this story. James and Florrie Maybrick were real people, and lived an interesting life until his death, ostensibly at her hand. Those interested in the lore surrounding the Ripper murders, and curious about the various theories put forward as to the identity of “Jack” will find this story an interesting diversion, with some clever insets and additions to the story.

Told from Florrie’s perspective, this southern-born American wanted nothing more than to live a fairy tale life as a titled woman in England. When she met James her plans were set in motion. Well-to-do, James was a cotton merchant, and in need of a wife. Far from a hearts and flowers courtship or relationship, these two characters are almost entirely without redeeming features, and engender zero sympathy. But, they are compelling nonetheless, it is watching a train wreck, knowing that no good can come from either of them, but you are entertained.

Savage and vividly detailed Purdy does not stint on graphic description of gore, violence or getting the ‘feel’ of London’s less “well-heeled’ areas at all. The story is dark and disturbing, and while I could not come close to identifying or caring about the Maybricks, I did want to see something happen that would present a sense of ‘they got their comeuppance’ in this story. Sadly, that didn’t really happen, and I was left with more questions and a solid feel that it does take all kinds of people, and there are all kinds in this world.

What Purdy did, to great effect, was give the murder victims a voice, face and story: so many of the popular stories treat these women as little more than footnotes: prostitutes and poor, they aren’t worth more. Purdy created backstories and makes us see them as people, making the murders more gruesome with this added connection. It is difficult to fully engage in a story without characters to care about or identify with, and the addition of the victims does give a tenuous connection to the story. And that was the saving grace for me: while Purdy’s writing was well crafted and nuanced with careful phrasing choices, the characters in this story were just not ones I could connect with or appreciate: they had no redeeming features. Despite that, the book was intriguing and held my interest, even with several breaks from the overwhelming dark and gruesome imagery.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


Mary Lite

about 12 hours ago

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