My rating: 3 of 5 stars
James Maybrick was an interesting choice to set a story around, although this book actually focused more on the life of Florence than James himself for much of the latter half, and of course this was expected based on the title of the book.
Whether you are a staunch Ripperologist or just looking for some entertainment, this book does that, but be warned you need a strong countenance to tolerate the graphic nature of the story, especially the diary entries.
Whether you believe that James Maybrick was simply a misunderstood (delusional)cotton mogul or he actually had any connection to the ripper case, this book will nearly make you believe he did, and was in fact the prime suspect.
Did I like this book? Tough question to answer. I thought the author did a fabulous job researching and putting together a plausible story where the dates and figures weren’t far off from the reality. She filled in the cracks and crevices imaginatively and in ways that supported her plot. But does that mean I liked it–well, no.
I find it hard to identify with a book (especially containing historical landmark crimes or people) when the characters are not likable. I could not find a single person in this book that was able to draw me in and make me feel a bit of empathy for them. Florie was a spoiled brat and James Maybrick was a repugnant rich fool without a care for anyone else around him, even on a good day. The children were pointless entities for much of the latter half of the story and could turn cold or hot depending on which way the tap knob was twisted.
I will give credit where credit us due though. This author managed to use more four letter expletives in a single book than I have ever seen before, including ****, ****, and ****. All in a neat little row. If you are bothered by the use of words that are derogatory to females then you could have a feminist rant to end all rants after this book. Although, I am particularly fond of the word ****.
What I did like–the author has clearly read the supposed diary of Mr. Maybrick and has based her story not only off of said research, but also included finer details of the murders that are not tied to just one suspect. I liked that she gave the women histories and personalities which made their murders seem that much more sad and senseless. She gave the people faces and hearts (which sadly were sometimes removed) and made the reader feel as if they were walking back through time to witness events that have been glossed over in years gone by.
Brandy Purdy is a good writer with a strength in storytelling. She writes history as if it were happening right this minute and makes her readers feel a sense of duty, to complete the book and find the answers. There were times during the reading of this book that I felt a bit ill, times when I wanted to slap a character or two and times when I was shocked by the graphic nature (that takes a lot with me, forensic pathology being my course of study) but overall, she made me feel something, and that is more than can be said for a lot of authors and a lot of books.
Recommended for those with strong stomachs.