Florence Chandler believed that she stepped off the ship in England and into a fairy-tale marriage. Her Prince Charming, an English cotton broker named James Maybrick, seems to adore her above all else. His love makes living in stuffy and unfriendly English high-society bearable. But little by little, Florence realizes that her husband has a temper, an addiction to dangerous medications, and an unrelenting desire for mistresses. Those flaws end up not being the worst of his secrets, though. Because the discovery of her husband’s diary reveals the a list of bloody deeds that she can’t deny because they’re written in his own hand.
With a title like The Ripper’s Wife and the summary, I started this book thinking that I’d be a fast-paced thriller. That wasn’t the case. This book instead chronicled the events leading up to the main character receiving her husband’s diary while also showing pages from the diary. That was a bit disappointing. I will say that even though the main character didn’t step up to the plate like I would have hoped, she did have a character arc that made sense both with the time period and her personality.
The Ripper’s Wife was a hard book for me to get into reading. The writing rule of “show, don’t tell” wasn’t followed at all with this story,and I can’t remember a single scene that happened on the page in front of me. The main character, and then her husband in the diary portions, told the entire story to the reader. There wasn’t any immersion in the scenes for me as the reader, meaning that there were no descriptions of smells, how food tasted, the facial expressions or body movement. The tension in the story and the downward spiral of the characters’ lives were eventually enough to get me interested and let me finish the book. But getting to that point was pretty challenging.
Another reader who enjoys realistic fiction with plots that happen because of a character’s decisions socially will probably like The Ripper’s Wife. If you’re looking for a thriller with a whole lot of action, this book doesn’t fit the bill.
The Ripper’s Wife by Brandy Purdy is published by Kensington Books and is available in paperback.
**I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.