Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Let the record show that I have never been a fan of historical fiction novels.  Until Stalking Jack the Ripper strolled into my life, that is.  Kerri Maniscalco's enticing words grabbed my by the throat and stole the air from my lungs.  My heart and soul were fully immersed in this novel until the very last syllable.  She brilliantly brought the lovely Audrey Rose Wadsworth and the ever so charming Thomas Cresswell to life in this re-imagined historical tale of the infamous serial murderer, Jack the Ripper.  This book was simply a masterpiece; I am afraid I am finding it difficult to describe just how fantastical this book truly is.  In the forward, James Patterson wrote, "Kerri's clever, vibrant voice and unerring grasp of suspense and emotion came through right from those opening words," and I could not agree more.

Jack the Ripper became one of the most well known serial killers in the fall of 1888.  Jack brutally mutilated five women of the Whitechapel district of London's East End between August 7 and November of 1888.  This sadistic madman harvested several organs from his victims and taunted Scotland Yard with letters regarding his "grand work".  Now, over a century and hundreds of suspects later, the identity of this monster is still a mystery, yet the story continues to fascinate mystery lovers worldwide.

"Death was not prejudiced by mortal things such as station or gender.  It came for kings and queens and prostitutes alike, often leaving the living with regrets."

While consistently managing to keep the facts and evidence from the original Jack the Ripper case intact, Maniscalco created the story of two headstrong forensic students who had to learn to work together in order to solve the murders of Whitechapel.

Seventeen year old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, therefore, she was born into wealth and privilege where her only concerns should have been social graces and silk skirts.  Too bad she would rather examine the dead than chat with other noblewomen over tea and biscuits.  Since it is unconventional for a woman to want to study anything at all, let alone forensics, she has to keep her apprenticeship with her uncle a well guarded secret.

Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth is one of the most well respected forensic pathologist in England, so it is only plausible that many forensic students will want to study under him.  And that is where readers Thomas Cresswell.  Thomas is a highly intelligent and observant forensic student with a cryptic past.  He quickly becomes Dr. Wadsworth's protege and beings to work alongside Audrey Rose.  Although he may present himself as the perfect gentlemen in public, he is notorious for being excessively flirtatious towards his mentor's niece as he tries to win her affection.

Despite Audrey Rose's attempts to keep her distance form Thomas, she cannot help but feeling draw to him.  He challenges her to push her limits and treats her as his equal.  He gives her the freedom to think and act for herself, unlike society and her father.  The two grow closer as the sense of danger heightens around them.  Soon they find themselves caught up in the chase of tracking Jack the Ripper and end up discovering that this case may just be hitting a little too close to home.

Nathaniel Buzolic as Kol Mikaelson in
CW's The Originals: Awakening.

(Tell me he isn't perfect for
this role.I literally dare you.)

"There's nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance."

One day I was browsing Twitter and came across Kerri Maniscalco's giveaway for a mass media copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper (SJTR).  I had heard of the title a several times before, but never actually looked into it until then.  I read the synopsis on Goodreads to get an idea of what it was like.  As I said earlier, I have never been a fan of historical fiction, so I was a little skeptical.  However, I am always up for a good mystery.  Needless to say, I decided to enter the giveaway.  The task was to post about who readers thought should be cast as Thomas Cresswell if SJTR were to hit the silver screen.  Anyone who knows me can testify that I have a deep love for the actor and photographer, Nathaniel Buzolic.  And considering I have seen him play the role of a Victorian Era Englishmen (looking flawlessly beautiful the entire time btw), he was my obvious choice.

Long story short, I won the giveaway and received my copy of SJTR the following week.  Although my TBR is a mile high, I felt like I needed to make this one a priority.  I am so glad I followed my gut on that.  I simply fell in love with Audrey Rose and Thomas.  I simply could not get enough of their obvious chemistry and headstrong personalities.  Additionally, the storyline itself kept me on the edge of my seat right up the jaw dropping ending.

"Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower.  You needn't believe something weak because it appears delicate.  Show the world your bravery."

The most important thing that I cannot stress enough is how incredible Audrey Rose is.  Granted, Thomas is enticingly delicious as far as fictional male characters, but Miss Wadsworth outshines him in every aspect.  Keep this in mind.  This book is set in the Victorian Era.  For those who do not know, that is in the 1800s.  The 1800s!!  At that time, society believed that the only contribution women could make is to be dainty and poised.  Basically, their goal was to satisfy their husband.  Meanwhile, Miss Audrey Rose Wadsworth holds her head high and figuratively tells the world to shove off.  Audrey Rose became one of my favorite literary characters of all time because of this fact.  She takes the cross looks and condemnation in stride as she works to achieve her dream of leading the field of forensic science.  All she wants is to prove to the world that she can do a "man's" job just as well, if not better, than the rest of the male population.  She is the true example of what a feminist is and I admire her so much.  True feminists do not make it out like women are better than men by putting them down.  No.  True feminists are the one who fight for women having the same rights are men.  Equality across the board is what seek.  I believe that Audrey Rose is a positive role model for young teens, for she shows that any girl can accomplish anything they desire despite being faced with adversity.  And as an adult woman, I can honestly say that she inspires me to be a better person and to persevere in times of doubt.  So Kerri, if you ever do read this review, thank you for creating Audrey Rose. 

My copy was given to me by Kerri Maniscalco, and I have provided an honest review based on opinions that are entirely my own.  I am not entitled to any compensation for this review.  If you would like to order a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper, click here.

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction - Mystery
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
ISBN: 0316273497


Hey! I am Alexandrea. I am originally from North Carolina and I love all things bookish - reading and writing are what I do best so I hope you stick around to see all that my website has to offer!

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