The Ripper’s Wife

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The alleged murder of James Maybrick, a middle-aged English cotton-broker, by his young American wife, Florence, caused a media sensation in 1889. The discovery of a diary a century later, allegedly written by the former in which he confesses to being Jack the Ripper, brought with it accusations of sensationalism from most in the media. The release of a book 125 years on is unlikely to cause a sensation, yet The Ripper’s Wife, a work of historical fiction told through the eyes of the latter, should receive sensational reviews all the same.

I say this because the Maybrick trial and Whitechapel murders have both been chronicled many times before, and yet the author, Brandy Purdy, maintains an astonishing level of suspense – so astonishing that some Ripperologists might think they have developed amnesia. What makes Purdy’s novel particularly memorable is her poetic prose, which takes readers beyond courtship-to-court, and onto the love “Florie” holds for her children: James and Gladys.

Biographer Kate Colquhoun refuses to answer her own question in Did She Kill Him? and settle the hotly-disputed issue. Although some may question Purdy’s paragraph-length sentences and period prose, no one can dispute that The Ripper’s Wife is a gripping page-turner.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Kensington
Publish Date 2014-Oct-28
ISBN 9780758288899 Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category Historical Fiction


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