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I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that if it's bad, I'll say so, regardless of how I received the book.People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield
Published by Head of Zeus on October 1, 2020
Genres: Crime Fiction
Source: Net Galley
Buy on Book Depository
I adored the last 35% of People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield. I suspect others adore the first 65%. It wasn’t bad, just not for me.
So why did I choose People of Abandoned Character? The premise. It’s a story of a woman who suspects her husband is Jack the Ripper. It totally pulled me in, but from receiving the book via Net Galley and starting to read, I had forgotten about the core premise (or maybe the premise that appealed to me). So I got about 50 pages in and had to re-read the blurb to remind myself why I chose to read it. Being fair, Clare delivers the premise, but precedes it with a lot of backstory. A very lot of backstory. We learn the wife’s childhood story and what caused her insecurities. It would be good if I liked the wife, Susannah. And some backstory was padding for character development and added nothing. Towards the end you learn how many LGBTIQ+ characters are in the story, but Susannah’s previous relationship with a nurse could have been left out; however I hope she settled down with Maude.
The extraordinary volume of backstory did make the end more enjoyable, indirectly. I started skim reading, which got me in a perfect reading pace for the action at the end. So much happens with a twist I never imagined and an ending that would make an excellent beginning. Seriously, Susannah becomes much more interesting later. I want a book of that. Sorry, I can’t say what that is, but it involves a Jack the Ripper theory I have never heard before and it’s creative, and possible and absolutely brilliant. And doesn’t involve Susannah’s insecurity.
It’s books like this why I avoid the women’s literature genre. I just don’t care for the characters. But if that is your cup of tea, read People of Abandoned Character. If you want to hear a most amazing Jack the Ripper theory, borrow this from the library and skip to the end.