First Lines: I placed my thumb and forefinger on the icy flesh, spreading it taut above the breastbone as Uncle had showed me.
This has been high on my to-read list for a long time, but I actually had a hard time getting my hands on it. It wasn’t until this isolation that I found it on my library’s ebook website and tried it.
Aubrey Rose was born into a world of wealth: fine teas, beautiful dresses, and all the privilege afforded to a girl in the 1880s. Unfortunately, even that “privilege” is fairly limited and Audrey Rose dreams of bigger things. She has a secret life working with her uncle on forensic medicine. She can autopsy a body better than most male medical students her age. When her work on a few gruesome murders leads her into an investigation of a serial murderer, Audrey searches for answers. And she may not like what she finds.
You know, it probably wasn’t my brightest idea to read this while the entire world is in a panic, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good.
I’m this on-again-off-again Ripper buff, so I was curious to see what this did with the mystery. Because obviously, it had to solve it even though there wasn’t a solution in real life. And it was…interesting. Some details of the murders were changed to make the plot work, but for the most part it was pretty accurate. (Although it does perpetuate the notion that all those women were prostitutes when they weren’t. Most of them were homeless, jobless, and alcoholics.)
ANYWAY. Our heroine, Audrey Rose, is an interesting lead. She’s fascinated by forensic science and anatomy, which makes her a freak in her social circles. But she’s also a girl who enjoys pretty dresses and cute boys. It was actually really cool to see those seeming opposites in a single character because it reminds us of the stereotypes we see in our heads and how they can be inaccurate. Her sometimes-colleague-sometimes-enemy Thomas is the same way. So those twists on what I immediately imagined were welcome.
The story is obviously dark and gruesome. There are some pretty disgusting details of autopsies, murder scenes, and death. I do much better with these things in books than in movies (because I can’t see them!), but admittedly there were a few times I was like, “Ok, you can back off the details now.” Weak stomachs beware.
I thought the mystery itself and the way things unfolded was really interesting. I was reading the book for large chunks of time because I kept wanting to see what kind of trouble Audrey Rose got into next and how things happened next. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the series continues.