Book Review: “The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold



Last month I was able to four books at one time, and as you might’ve seen in my review for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, I mentioned that I really wanted to get into that spooky vibe that October always seems to bring and so this was a great addition to the lineup, although I did feel sad as I was finishing it but I will explain in detail later on the post.

For now, let’s move on to the blurb of the story.


Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

taken from Goodreads.

There were a number of things I actually liked about this book. The first has to be the introduction: the author gave you an idea of how the time of the Jack The Ripper killings, a year after the Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations in 1887. You have a great reference of showcasing the glamor and luxuries of the royals but the darkside of her people, the lives of the victims are less infamous as they were all assumed to be prostitutes, but here they are up front and you really get to see how much a person, whether they are male or female, had to live in that era.

My second is the question that I seemed to have while reading the beginning of each of the women’s lives, which was, “how did it go wrong?” and for most, they were addicted to alcohol. Apparently it was very easy to get a drink, whereas having the resources to find birth control was not, and at this point the two were mixed and unfortunately had sad consequences, like experiencing the heartbreak of multiple stillbirths and children born with disabilities. The main reason why many lives were consumed to the alcohol were because of the many tragedies that came into their homes, whether it was their parents, siblings, or their own children; a way of coping with the guilt or pain was to drink it all away.

However, the drawback of a person, especially a woman with a family of her own, depending on the drink to cope with life’s struggles made her into a “fallen woman” if she would rather rely on the thirst or be at the heart of her family, good wife to her husband. Unfortunately, if the husband and father was also using the same coping mechanism, he wouldn’t be judged the same way as his wife. He could be open to his vices, if he could still hold down a job and pay his rent to the landlords. However, if the drink became too much, it was most likely the wives would be cast out of the home rather than the husband. The double standards of the Victorian era reigned heavily over the lives in London.

I want to say, I have looked up the women before, but have never once focused my attention on who they were; the notion that all five were considered “whores” really set me off about them and when I decided to give this a go, I was more focused on the nature of ‘The Ripper’ even as I talked it over with my mom, but once I finished I quickly realized everything that happened was real. Since there are five victims, I ended up having favorites, which I felt horrible at the time (and honestly still do!) because I saw the same things happening over and over again but with a different name and social class. My three favorites were: Annie, Elisabeth and Catherine or Katie as she was called in the book.

If you haven’t read this book, you should definitely put it on your list, and despite the fact that Halloween is now over with, it doesn’t mean you need to wait because autumn in general puts me in the mood for these kinds of books anyway. Oh, and you can also read it for the rest of ‘Nonfiction November’ theme too!

Have you read this book before? If you have, what were your thoughts about it?


REVIEW | Taboo


So I decided to change up what I originally had for today. I wasn’t necessarily happy with that post so I figured I could do something else and thus came this review! I’m only discussing the events that happened in episode 1.

Last week the channel FX premiered a miniseries called Taboo, a dark and mysterious drama about a man who was thought to be dead, comes back to the life he left behind in London, where his now dead father has him as a sole heir in his will and with a piece of land called Nookta Sound (that is located on west side of Canada) that is considered a “wasteland” by various people but the people of the East India Company want him to sign over that property to them.

The man James Daleney is a very haunted person. You don’t see it until after he makes it to the pub after everybody’s left the funeral. He sort of has an episode at the end of the general scene after his half sister and brother-in-law has walked away from him. The first episode is an hour long, but with the slow pace you are kind of left wondering about all of these people and their intentions, but I think James is the second most interesting person on the show. I’d like to know about Sir Stuart Strange, the chairman of EIC but I’m more into what and how James knows so much about the EIC and his father Horace’s actions towards the end of his madness.

My dad and I were originally going to watch the show together, but I wanted to watch it live with everyone else. The only bad part about it was all of the freaking commercials! Once you start using the skip button when you record your favorite shows late at night, you automatically become best friends with it. And like an idiot, I decided to take off my headphones about 30 minutes before the show started. The day after, I remember telling my mom that I thought dad should wait until next week (meaning Tuesday) to watch it as it might go a little faster, but he does like darker themes and like me he loves anything to do with Tom Hardy, who plays James Delaney.

If you can handle a little witchcraft or supernatual themes, then I think you’ll like it. It is very interesting. I am apart of the Facebook group called “Taboo Tribe” and we were asked to rate the first episode, I gave it an 8. I thought it was fair as it was slow in parts and you were mostly getting more questions than answers than anything else but it was a nice beginning!

So what do you think about Taboo? Are you watching it as well? What was your favorite scenes? Who are you most curious about? And if you’re not watching, does it sound like you would in the future?


REVIEW | Noisey

Hey guys,

We’re back for another review day and I’m still technically talking about music! Back in mid-February I was watching a lot of History Channel 2 because they still aired the historical shows, like Cities Of The Underworld, America Unearthed, and Ancient Aliens. As the month was starting to end though, I kept seeing these promos for a new channel called Viceland and I wouldn’t see them on any other channel except this one. I actually liked the commercials of the different shows they’d be airing once March came, but I  slowly realized that it meant they’d be removing my favorite channel in the process.

I started watching Gayaction which is where Ellen Page and her best friend Ian Daniel go to different countries exploring how each country deals with the LGBT community. I watched it for maybe four weeks and I have to say, I liked it. I thought it was pretty interesting but I stopped and haven’t watched again. The other show I basically fell in love through its promos was Noisey and this was a music based documentary show that aired on Tuesday, I watched it religiously every week learning about the stories of the music and the artists behind it. The one thing I wasn’t really interested in (at first!) was the fact they mostly talked about rap music. I’m not really into that genre anymore but I was so into the show that I didn’t really care!

I think my favorite episodes were when host Zach Goldhaum and his crew went to London, Miami, Detroit and Las Vegas (mostly because it was about the electronic dance music scene), I think I learned a lot about the music, the people, and violence behind it. It was very educational in a lot of ways! I actually used an artist from the London into my Tune Tuesday post about England coming in a couple of weeks! I really want another season and maybe they’ll go to other places and discuss other genres like rock and heavy metal. I really wish they’d go to Amsterdam!

Have you been watching Viceland at all? What are your favorite new shows? Did you like “Noisey” and what did you like or not like about it?

Blogs That I Love #20


Look what’s back!!

The last time I did one of these posts was in March, that seems like a really long time ago actually! I really miss doing these posts but I’ll be honest when I made my Bloglovin account at the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I would basically follow every blog in sight. I still do Twitter blog sprees too so I’ve been seeing a lot more posts than I probably should and I think I got too overwhelmed picking and choosing blogs to share on this series.

  1. Sarah In Wonderland – This girl is such a sweetie, like seriously! I have really appericated her friendship in the last couple of months. It’s kind of weird but interesting that we even became friends in the first place. We join the SpoonieSpeak chats on Fridays, sometimes she even hosts them! She has quite a few invisible disabilities but somehow we instantly clicked. As much as I wish she slept better at night, I do like our chats. Late afternoons for me, but really late night for her! She of course, lives on the opposite side of the world. She mainly talks about health, beauty and lifestyle topics. I usually read her disability posts than her other posts, but she has an amazing blog overall!
  2. Cardigan Jezebel – Meggan is another sweetie and I am a bit envious of her because she lives in Ireland at the moment. So imagine all of the gorgeous fall pictures for a second! She is a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blogger. I really look forward to her blog posts, mainly the lifestyle posts, but I’m starting to like more of her fashion posts. Another feature she’s been talking about more is her obsession with hair dye. So far I haven’t guessed one damned color right!
  3. Heroine In Heels – Laura is one my favorite food/travel bloggers out there. If I could I would literally do a whole list of my favorite travel bloggers ever, you all would understand my wanderlust in a heartbeat! She talks about other topics too, like fashion and does reviews on restaurants, clubs, etc so if you read those posts before you’ve had anything to eat, you’ll be 10x more hungry than you first started out trust me!


EP Review: Laurel’s “Holy Water”

This is kind of different for me, to be doing a EP review. If you don’t know what an “EP” is, it means “extended play” and it’s more a single but less tracks than a normal album. I’m in a love/hate relationship with these things honestly. I wish artists would release albums instead of these things, but like they all say, less is more sometimes.

Last season on The Vampire Diaries I got introduced to this lovely artist, by the name of Laurel. She and her song that was featured on the episode of the big Delena sex scene was the only thing that kept me entertained. Sorry Delena fans! The track was called, “Fire Breather” and I remembered rewinding that episode twice because I loved that song so much! It literally took me two months to wait so I could buy it on iTunes. Ever since, I’ve been following the London-based singer on both Facebook and Twitter, waiting on every new track she releases. She released her first EP called, “To The Hills”  earlier this year and I really like that one too. I’ve been looking forward to her “Holy Water EP” since the beginning of November I think. I kept sharing her song “Memorials” on my Facebook a couple of times. So I could hear it anytime I wanted to. Yes, I’m that addicted!

The EP is everything I like about music today. This year I’ve been really into deep, dreamy stuff. You hear me talk about Banks a lot, and Laurel is the English version of Banks I think. They both take me away from my own thoughts with their lyrics, sounds, and voices. The first song of the four track EP is called, “I Forget” and it starts out in a little static vocalizing and some synth drums. Laurel’s voice is nice and loud out from the background music. There are so many emotions in this song that you can feel. The next song is my favorite at the moment. It’s “Memorials” and it’s a dreamy but kind of gives off this nice little dubstep/trance effects throughout too. I like to sway back and forth to this song. Her voice is so intoxicating. It’s been out for a while and I have yet to learn the words to this song. I can hum the medley though, so there’s a good sign!

The third song is called, “Come Together” and it featured another artist by the name of Sivu. This one has some nice R&B influences to it. Laurel’s voice is kind of softer in this track. I like Sivu’s voice in it. It’s got some noticeable drums towards the end. The last song is the title track, “Holy Water” you can definitely hear synths and a piano. I like her little hums at the beginning and just before she goes into the choruses. The entire EP and Laurel’s voice is a nice, easy balance to it. Nothing’s too overwhelming. It’s a nice EP if you want to get lost in. It’ll take you away for some time. My only wish is just wrong to say, because it IS just an EP. I wish it was longer, but maybe I’d only want the songs to be longer and not get more songs on it?

Which of the songs do you like? I’d also suggest you to listen to her other tracks as well. Enjoy!