Book Review: “The Boleyns Of Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson & Claire Ridgway

Hello!

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done anything for my blog.

Honestly, I see this as a good sign because it means that I am starting to enjoy these mini vacations! I have to say though, I did not do a whole lot of reading, ever since I finished the Celtic Blood series at the beginning of the summer, I have had a rough time figuring out what I want to get into next, as you might know I have really allowed myself to enjoy romance again, but they’re not as fun as they were around May, so I decided to dive deep into my historical fiction and even some nonfiction in there too, which is how I found this book on Kindle Unlimited in the middle of August.

I remember seeing this cover on the History of Royal Women’s instagram stories a few months before it actually came out. Moniek tries to give everyone an overview of all of the books coming out in both the US and UK and since it isn’t uncommon for the dates to be different, you may see it more than once. If you do not have instagram, she also does a blog post usually at the start of the month with more information about the books and when they officially come out too! If you’re curious about the books coming out in September, click here.


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Hever Castle is a picture-postcard fortified manor house nestled in the Kent countryside. It is famous for its links with the Boleyns, an East Anglian gentry family who rose and fell dramatically at the court of King Henry VIII.

In The Boleyns of Hever Castle, historians Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway invite you into the home of this notorious family.

Travel back in time to those 77 years of Boleyn ownership. Tour each room just as it was when Anne Boleyn retreated from court to escape the advances of Henry VIII or when she fought off the dreaded ‘sweat’. See the 16th century Hever Castle come to life with room reconstructions and read the story of the Boleyns, who, in just five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway have combined their considerable knowledge of the Boleyn family and Hever Castle to create this luxurious book. Packed with history and full-colour images, The Boleyns of Hever Castle will educate and enlighten you

taken from Amazon.

So, the book itself is divided up in three sections. The beginning is how the entire castle looked like when it was first built before the Boleyn family came along. The authors give you a lot of blueprints and reconstructed photos to give you a better idea, and this was something I could follow easily with but reading along through what was important about all of the balconies, rooms, and stairs. At some point of this, I became very confused and was tempted to skip that whole section–I complained so much that even my mom was telling me to do it! Once you finally complete this part, you move on to the origin story of the Boleyns.

This was definitely my favorite part of the book. I like to look up family trees to see where they came from and how various names play a part in the line of decedents. The first person you are introduced to is Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, who begins his quest to learn and work his way up the amount of positions like a mercer to sheriff of London. The men of the Boleyn were very good at their jobs, and this is something that continues through the generations to the point where you have Geoffrey’s great-great-grandson Thomas Boleyn becoming a diplomat for England, France, and Austria and then finally becoming the first Earl of Wiltshire in 1529.

Thomas would inherit a large amount of properties and after he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, the daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, they would make Hever Castle their official residence. One of my favorite lines in the book was, they family could lived anywhere they wanted to, but they felt safe at Hever. The Countess would give birth to five children, but only Mary, Anne, and George would survive to adulthood. All of them were educated at Hever with their governesses and tutors, but most importantly Mary and Anne were allowed to take other courses that were mainly taught to the men of the household like falconry. Another part of their schooling, especially if they had family that worked within royal houses, they could live as apprentices or in Mary and Anne’s case, become ladies in waiting. They stayed with the Queen Margaret of Austria and Queen Claude of France before coming back to England and being part of Catherine of Aragon’s household.

This is the story of the rise of a remarkable family who, over five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

My views on whether Anne was a schemer or a pawn has definitely changed over the years. I think the thing we all need to remember is, you never said no Henry. I am sure there was fear among the many families that served under the king, especially if you could not get something done right away, which is why my views on Cardinal Worsley’s responsibility has flipped as well. I do not believe Anne could get out of the king’s clutches or her family’s ambitions to gain even more control of the king. Unfortunately, the Queen could not give Henry a son, and Anne was at the right place at the wrong time and her fate was sealed.

The final section of the book is what happened after Hever was left to the Crown and the rest of the Boleyn family died out in 1634 with the death of Lettice Knollys, who was the daughter of Catherine Carey, who then was the daughter of Lady Mary Boleyn, the only child of Thomas and Elizabeth to not lose her head after the events in 1539. It wasn’t until William Waldorf Astor took control of the property and brought it back to how it could have looked like when the Boleyn family lived there, but with some added royal aesthetic. I thought this part was fairly interesting because it speaks to anyone who is obsessed with royal history, especially the Tudor dynasty! It doesn’t matter what century or year it is, everyone can fall in love with the stories this castle’s walls know by heart. It may be the only living thing to know the truth about Anne Boleyn’s thoughts about everything!

I really enjoyed this book, and think if you or someone you know loves learning about royal history, you should direct them to this lovely book. It is fairly short but it is full of information!

Have you read “The Boleyns at Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about it? Let me know below!

Book Review: “Bad Girls Throughout History” by Ann Shen

Hello!

So… I had hoped that I would have a completely different blog post for you today but I was up late one night and like I mostly do in the daytime, I scrolled through the “newer” books on Kindle Unlimited. I have figured a small system, and one thing I have noticed helps me out sometimes is clicking the “Last 30 Days” of when the books come out on KU. I have found quite a few books through this route but this was one of my most exciting discoveries to date, it was also the quickest reads in a really, really long time!


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Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World delivers a empowering book for women and girls of all ages, featuring 100 women who made history and made their mark on the world, it’s a best-selling book you can be proud to display in your home.

The 100 revolutionary women highlighted in this gorgeously illustrated book were bad in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for all who followed. Explored in this history book, include:

• Aphra Behn, first female professional writer.
• Sojourner Truth, women’s rights activist and abolitionist.
• Ada Lovelace, first computer programmer.
• Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize.
• Joan Jett, godmother of punk.

From pirates to artists, warriors, daredevils, women in science, activists, and spies, the accomplishments of these incredible women who dared to push boundaries vary as much as the eras and places in which they effected change. Featuring bold watercolor portraits and illuminating essays by Ann Shen, Bad Girls Throughout History is a distinctive, gift-worthy tribute to rebel girls everywhere.

A lovely gift for teen girls, stories to share with a young girl at bedtime, or a book to display on a coffee table, everyone will enjoy learning about and celebrating the accomplishments of these phenomenal women.

taken from Amazon.

One of my favorite things is learn more about women, their histories, hobbies, relationships, sexuality, etc, just to gain another sort of boost of inspiration for my own life. I started my love of books, while reading fictional tales of famous women like Queen Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette while I was in high school, and as I continue to grow, I am pushing for more stories like them. I will generally read a book in a female point of view but would rather write in a male’s point of view instead. Good luck explaining that one to me later!

I was very surprised by the fact that this book popped on my screen, and it wasn’t until I was done that I figured out how I found it at all. The author of “The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles,” Lauren Lee Mattingly was actually Ann’s editor for this book. After seeing this, I was like, “okay, that could be the reason why it literally appeared out of nowhere!” and made a note to make sure I included that piece of information for you guys. Honestly, even if I hadn’t known about it, I already had the actual book on my to-be-read list, so all in all, it was a nice easy book.

To be a bad girl is to break any socially accepted rule. For some women, it’s the way they dress. For other girls, it’s the act of going to school.

Unfortunately, I accidently read one or two reviews while trying to add it to my overwhelming “currently reading” stack of books on Goodreads, and someone had mentioned that although it was a great list of women, it wasn’t very diverse. I really try not to let another person’s comments reflect my own thoughts, but they were right. Out of 100 women mentioned in the book, there were only a handful I did not know about, and that really drove me crazy because as much as I adored reading about Grace O’Malley, Mata Hari, Rosa Parks and Nora Ephron, I expected lesser known bad girls included and the ones who were in the lineup, had like the smallest section. I was a little bummed out about this but again, it was a great book anyways!

Have you read “Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed The World” by Ann Shen? If you have, what were your thoughts on it overall?

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

Hello!

Originally, I had another post I was going to do today but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish it for this month, so it’ll (hopefully) go out in July, along with some other interesting things too! I did this tag last year and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t post it at the right time of the year so I was determined to do this one along with everyone else, because it is huge with other book bloggers and YouTubers too. If you would like to see what I had mentioned in the first post, click here. If you end up doing the tag on your blog or YT channel, I would love to see your answers too, so please leave a link down in the comments section for me to check out later.

I do want to mention before I officially start; I am only going to talk about the books I’ve finished already so that it goes into the reviews that I will be publishing later this week and possibly next week too. I am also including the reviews to each book that is mentioned below.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

This question is always so difficult to answer, especially so early in the year, but for the sake of the tag itself, I think it is a three way tie between A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair, This Is War by Kennedy Fox, and Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak, What I find interesting about all three books is that they are all in different genres and for once I have a book focused on two characters but found the male character more compelling! Honestly, Viola really drove me crazy, which in a way worked out great for the banter between she and Travis, but I found it absolutely annoying!

ATOD and HR mean a lot for me, mainly because they were the start of their series I didn’t expect I would fall in love with earlier in the year but I’m forever thankful I found them! The myth behind both Persephone and Lady Macbeth generally perceive these ladies as weak and despite the fact I have only heard of little things about these characters in the past, I really believe the authors are giving them a voice to their stories. It is focused on them where most of historical knowledge is focused on their counterparts instead. However, in the defense of the God of the Underworld Hades, Scarlett has made him out to be as ruthless as you’d expect anyways but full of compassion and very loving towards Persephone!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

I’ve read 14 books in the last six months and the only one I can say for certain that I think was the best sequel is, Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak. At first, I had written out “Highland Vengeance” but honestly, the second book was WAYY better!

This book really took me on a ride just as much as it did was our main character Corbie! It was full of twists and turns but I truly loved the bond between Corbie and Gillacoemgain. I didn’t really know I loved that relationship until I got to the third book and I started noticing that everytime she would bring him up, I had tears in my eyes. It totally threw me for a loop but nevertheless I don’t regret my decision on continuing the series.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

For some odd reason, I have yet to actually start reading A Touch of Malice which came out in late May. It is the third book of the series and I’ve done a really good job of staying away from various spoilers, so I feel pretty good about that but I am hoping that once I finish my current books I will make the switch because I desperately want to know what the hell has happened to Hades and Persephone.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I guess this post is mostly about Scarlett St. Clair and Melanie Karsak because they each have a book coming out after the summer. Scarlett is up first with the second book of the events that happened in both A Touch of Ruin and A Touch of Malice. The title is A Game of Retribution and I’m not exactly thrilled that both of these books will be in one storyline because that means it’ll either be well over 400+ or some things will be left out of the whole thing; honestly the only thing that is keeping me excited is we get to hear Hades say “fucking fates” again…

As for Melanie, she is releasing a historical fiction about the warrior Queen Boudicca in “Queen of Oak” and since I am nearing the end of the Celtic Blood series, which discusses Boudicca quite a bit in the first and three books, I am very ready to see the spark I enjoyed so much in Corbie again. Trust me, I will be very happy to read this book after I’m done with her story! I’m going to need something to help get me through the grief but I am slightly troubled because I would also like to read a historical biography about Boudicca as well, and I had planned on reading it once I finished with Highland Queen but I don’t know if I should wait until I have read QOO first. I don’t think I would do a lot of comparisons between them but I am sort of torn on what to do now…

Biggest disappointment

To be perfectly honest, I’ve had some good luck lately but there was one book that I was very excited to get into at first but I was so irritated about what the hell I was seeing on my Kindle that I ended up being in a tiny slump for a few weeks. The book in question was Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I knew it was about King Henry VIII and his court but that was about it, I wasn’t familiar with the other stuff going down on the sidelines and I think this was my issue. I wanted to hear a story about a courtier at Hampton Court either during the end of Catherine of Aragon or start of Anne Boleyn’s days.

Biggest surprise

Truthfully, I didn’t expect how much I would end up enjoy reading Twilight at the beginning of the year. I was really into the movies early on but I had made my choice when they started becoming more and more popular with my family and friends, because I was knee deep in love with The Vampire Diaries, I didn’t want to basically guide me away from my favorite characters and show overall. So, being able to read it with fresh eyes as an adult was interesting! I was able to enjoy Bella a lot more than I ever did with the films. Bella isn’t as dull and quiet toward the Cullens or friends in general and I think that was made it enjoyable for me!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

If you have never read any of my reviews, you might find it curious that I rarely read about what the book is actually about, and no book has ever made me do a double take in the middle of the chapter, as Rough” by Renee Rose and Vanessa Vale did. As you might have seen this spring and last year, I have become a fan of Vanessa Vale’s books, but before finding this one, I had never heard, much less read anything by Renee Rose.

The series itself is called Wolf Ranch, and my first thought was, “this sounds cool, let’s go!: and then I began to read it and Boyd had explained that when he saw Audrey for the first time, his “wolf” caught sight of her and wanted her. I thought this was his nickname for his junk. It never dawned on me he was a shapeshifter, because Vanessa normally doesn’t write about them in her books, just mostly gorgeous cowboys and sex! So, once I started putting two and two together I made the assumption that this must be part of Renee’s influence and in the end, I was right. She has written several paranormal books in the past.

Newest fictional crush

Ooooooh boy.

This one always gets me because I tend to fall for the majority of the characters, but there are at least two that I just cannot stop thinking about and the first is the Lord of Moray, Gillacoemgain. It’s always the ones who you think are going to be the worst of the bunch that you basically fall over heels in love with, and then by the end of the story, that person is gone. I am still grieving over him because he just made me so happy.

I’ve just finished reading the first book of the Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder, and I am in love with Sebastian! Bad boys who can’t express their feelings are usually not my thing but he threw me for a loop and I kind of liked it. No pun intended of course!

Newest favorite character

I am really torn between Lulach, who is the son of Corbie from Highland Blood. You get a glimpse of him at the end of that book, but he doesn’t start to have a bigger role for everyone in the series until Highland Vengeance–he goes from being a newborn to around five or six years old from start to finish so everything that comes across Corbie’s way, she’s not doing it for herself, she’s doing it for him.

And since this question is asking for newest favorite character, I think I should probably add Sebastian Badd to the mix! I’m actually shocked that I like Bast more than Baxter, since I read out of order of the Badd Brothers series. I don’t know why but I prefer Bast at the moment. He seems like a really good guy, but not saying Baxter didn’t. I just find him a little more attractive while reading Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder.

Book that made you cry

Now I know I may not have the review out yet but since the film continues to make me cry, I knew it happen again while reading the book too. I just didn’t think it would affect me that much, but you know it happens. Oh, and the book I’m talking about is Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire.

Book that made you happy

I’ve basically talked about all of the books I’ve read so far except for me and I have to say, I am not adding it here because of this reason, but because it did make me happy in the beginning: Before Wallis: Edward VIII’s Other Women by Rachel Trethewey. I love reading historical nonfiction and if it’s about royalty I will probably be drawn to it, and I think King Edward VIII before he met Wallis Simpson was totally different than what he became later on, and it allows you to understand a tiny bit of why Prince Harry would want a normal life away from the royal family.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

Heh, funnily enough, I really haven’t bought a book since December–well except for that one series Mafia Brides by Measha Stone, but in my defense, I swore I was clicking for the Kindle Unlimited but I ended up purchasing a trilogy series and as much as I am not loving it, I feel like I have to complete the series because they were not cheap, as they were $15.99! So, if you are a Kindle Unlimited looking for a series to get into, please watch what you’re clicking or you’ll feel so guilty that you force yourself to read it anyways!

However, the ‘most beautiful’ book cover would have to be A Touch of Darkness. Honestly, the first three books have gorgeous covers, but the fourth cover is a bit different compared to the others as it has roses and vines instead of that iron design.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Apparently the Lost Pharaoh Chronicles by Lauren Lee Merewether is pretty long; the final book will be coming out soon but I would like to at least three more from that series before the end of the year. I would also like to do the same for the Twilight series, but we’ll really have to see what happens with those books.

I still have a lot of different books on my Kindle that I could knock out before the start of 2022 and here is on my to-do list as of now.

  • Still Me by JoJo Moyes (3%)
  • One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (15%)
  • After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore (22%)
  • Roping The Cowboy by Kennedy Fox (4%)
  • Wicked Beat by Olivia Cunning (38%)
  • Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  • Elizabeth Woodeville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower by David Baldwin (20%)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4%)
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The main reason why everybody is so low is because I have a real problem with staying away from KU and looking for freebie gems! Like with my Harry Potter books, I am also casually reading Gone Girl. I will get through it eventually, as I will with all of these books too.

So, what do you think of my answers? Are there any books you think you would like to read listed above? If so, which ones are calling out to you and why?

Book Review: “Before Wallis: Edward VIII’s Other Women” by Rachel Trethewey

Hello!

I did not expect to finish two books this month but I am thrilled to do so, because I’m not reading as much as I did at the start of the year, so I have been feeling discouraged about it lately. And if I am reading, I’m not going as fast either, like with this book, I began reading it during the last week of March and it was smooth sailing for a while but then once I distracted with other things, I kind of lost my mojo with it.

Something you may not know about me is that I have thought if I was alive around the time that Edward was alive, I’d probably be one of his ‘royal groupies’ honestly him and Prince Albert (King George VI) were so good looking that I often wonder what exactly happened with the recent generations! I swear I think the good looks stopped after The Queen and her sister Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Of course, this is just my opinion on the matter!


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Wallis Simpson was the woman who stole the king’s heart and rocked the monarchy – but she was not Edward VIII’s first or only love. This book is about the women he adored before Wallis dominated his life.

There was Rosemary Leveson Gower, the girl he wanted to marry and who would have made the perfect match for a future king; the Prince’s long-term mistress, Freda Dudley Ward, who exerted a pull almost equal to Wallis over her lover, but abided by the rules of the game and knew she would never marry him. Then there was Thelma Furness, his twice-married American lover, who enjoyed a domestic life with him, but realized it could not last forever and demanded nothing more than to be his mistress.

In each love affair, Edward behaved like a cross between a little boy lost and a spoilt child. Each one of the three women in this book could have changed the course of history. In examining their lives and impact on the heir to the throne, we question whether he ever really wanted to be king.

taken from Goodreads.

I have always wondered about Edward VIII, and how he, himself, saw the monarchy in the early 1900’s. He was an odd duck as royals go, as he would rather wear polo clothes and smoke out in public than keeping the suit and tie, discreet traditions, He also had a habit with chasing women too. As you learn in this book, there were quite a few women who had his attention before he became infatuated with Wallis Simpson.

When you first start reading, the author Rachel explains that while you will learn about the three main women in Edward’s life before meeting Wallis, later you will learn more about their lives after each relationship fizzled out. The first lady is Lady Rosemary Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, as she acts as a nurse in a field hospital created by her own mother, Millicent, The Duchess of Sutherland around 1918. It was while taking care of wounded soldiers that she met the prince for the first time.

The more I was able to learn about Rosemary, the more I fell in love with her too. It is such a shame that the King and Queen refused their son’s wish to marry her because she was the ultimate woman for the king-to-be, but it also reminds you that despite being part of the upper class of nobility and well-liked throughout the royal family, even they had their standards. If it wasn’t for King Edward VII’s “secret” relationship to Rosemary’s half-aunt Daisy, Countess of Warwick (plus her blunt opinions of politics!) Rosemary would have been the perfect bride and Queen consort to the prince,

Once that relationship was over, Edward moved onto another well known lady of nobility: Freda Dudley Ward. She was the wife of William Dudley Ward, the Liberal member of Parliament (MP) and they had two daughters and you will get to know everyone, trust me. Edward’s relationship to Freda lasted for 10 years and is the bulk of the actual book.

This is where you start to see a noticeable shift personality wise with Edward, because Rachel includes the letters he wrote to the Queen, Rosemary and Freda. He leans on Freda on support not just for a sexual release. He was as invested with Freda as if they were married like a regular couple. Honestly, at first I really wasn’t a big fan of Freda, mainly because she was next in line, but as I continued reading, I ended up changing my mind. She was first and most importantly a mother in a era where the children where mostly left with nannies but she truly loved her daughters and they came before anything, including her lovers!

And then finally, we move to Thelma Furness, Viscountess Furness. My opinion of Thelma never went away, because she just seemed so self-centered compared to her counterparts. Thelma had a twin sister named Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and Thelma is the aunt to Gloria Vanderbilt and great-aunt to Anderson Cooper! After figuring this out, I was pretty much done with learning more about Thelma’s personal life.

He did not want to be a prince on a pedestal, but rather to be treated like an ordinary man.

One thing that I definitely kept in the back of my mind was when Prince Charles was starting his relationship with Camilla, before he met Lady Diana, because Camilla was already married, The Queen Mother and Lord Louis Mountbatten thought that Charles would ruin the monarchy because it was like when Edward met Wallis, as she was already divorced once in the beginning and then of course become divorced again to keep the prince. They had arranged that Prince Charles meet and talk to his paternal great-uncle The Duke of Windsor. Obviously we don’t know what was said but whether or not Edward had the same thoughts about Camilla, Charles didn’t care and perused her anyways.

The thing is, I was thinking that the book itself reminded me of Prince Charles, when he was running around with all of these women in the his 20’s and 30’s, before settling down, but honestly he made think about the royal family’s current situation with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Edward was never happy with his public persona as the first son of the king, and you could see it on his face that he seemed bored and sad in a way, and I think he acted out with his many relationships to find some normalcy in his life. We don’t know what truly goes on within the royal court and households so I actually saw the Harry and Meghan exit as senior members in a new light.

If you are interested in learning about the British royal family, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and everything else that happened from 1918-1934, this is the book for you. It was a very interesting read but I only gave it three stars because it did become somewhat boring towards the end.

Have you read ‘Before Wallis’ by Rachel Trethewey yet? If you have, what did you get out of it the most? Did your opinion(s) about the previous and/or modern royals change at all?

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

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Hello!

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.


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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?

snowflake