This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each book in the series is a standalone story.
A tale that beats back our assumptions about the time of Jack the Ripper. Not the grim story of an unfortunate drunken prostitute killed before her time, but one of a young woman alive with all the emotional complexity of women today. Running from a man wanting her to pay for her crimes against his brother, Mary Jane Kelly must recover a valuable hidden necklace and sell it to gain the funds to leave London and start over elsewhere. Driven by powerful, if at times conflicting emotion, she runs the dystopian labyrinth of the East End, and tries to sneak past the deadly menace that bars her exit.
- D and J
Ripper victim reimagined. Read it!
Having read the other books in Alan Clark’s Jack the Ripper Victims Series I was most interested when given the opportunity to listen to this book.
Throughout, I was struck by the gentleness and sensitivity with which the author told this woman’s tale. He has, of course, built a fictional story around the events of the time, but it is clear he has done extensive research into the culture, the setting and the language of the period.
With each sentence the reader is presented with a full picture of the city and its inhabitants. The author’s careful use of vocabulary help one not only see the story in one’s mind, but also hear, smell, taste and feel it.
Although this story reveals an, at times, brutal existence, the reader also gets a chance to experience the tenderness and generosity of spirit of the people.
The narrator is most skilled in her craft, and her accent definitely contributes to the atmosphere of the tale. That said, I personally preferred reading the other books in the series myself. There were passages that I felt were presented too dispassionately by this narrator. At the same time, I understand that she would not want to sensationalize the story and most likely chose her reading style to show respect for the characters involved, as they are based on real people.
I highly recommend this book.
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- Madelon Wilson
Women Then, Women Now
A well-written book is hard to put down. By the same token, a well-narrated audiobook is truly binge worthy.
Such are the books in the Jack the Ripper Victim series, by Alan M. Clark, and narrated by Alicia Rose This, the fifth book in the series, elicits a certain dread that makes it as difficult to hear as it is to stop listening. The dread comes from what anyone who has read anything about the Ripper knows of Mary Jane Kelly, the fifth and final victim in the canon. She was the youngest, and by all accounts, the prettiest, and the only one so badly mutilated as to lose all semblance of humanity. As the protagonist of this tale, Alicia Rose's dramatic narration puts you, the listener, into a place you would not want to be. Somehow, using nothing but her voice, she puts you into that place that is Victorian London's seediest. Her rendition of Clark's introductory material, sets the stage perfectly. This is historical fiction that depicts, quite plausibly, the life that Mary Jane Kelly may have lived before it was so brutally ended.
It is important to understand that THE PROSTITUTE'S PRICE is a work of historical fiction, not another book attempting to solve the Ripper murders. It is a book about one woman, who by all accounts was a young, professional prostitute at a time when women were considered chattel no matter their social standing. From beginning to end, we see that Mary Jane Kelly lived by her own set of rules and did not allow male dominance to get in the way. Whether her choices were good or bad, they were her own. Alan Clark has given each of Jack's victims a voice but none more than Mary Jane.
Clark has done a remarkable job channeling his inner feminist. The entire series portrays the strength of women. If you think about what women have done in support of family and children, you will understand that these are not the stories of drunks who were murdered. These are the stories of women who did whatever was necessary to keep body and soul together in the squalor that was London's East End. I promise you that reading these books will change your perspective on this period in history.
If I may interject a point of personal privilege here, in 1999 I was in London. One of the things on my to-do-in-London list was to participate in a Jack the Ripper walking tour which I did with my husband. Our tour guide was Donald Rumbelow, a former City of London police officer, and the author of THE COMPLETE JACK THE RIPPER, which I had read. He is a London Police historian and has written books about crime other than this infamous unsolved case. The first thing to know about these tours is that almost nothing of the actual murder sites remains today. There are no Victorian chills until you get to Artillery Lane, Spitalfields. Walking down this unlit channel, in near total darkness, evokes an almost indescribable dread. When Clark puts Mary Jane Kelly walking on the very street, a street that still exists, I was back on that walking tour remembering the foreboding I felt some twenty years ago.
Whether you read or listen (or switch back and forth), this book, and the entire series, will add to your understanding of a time of great societal change and of the hardships women had to endure while that change was taking place. Think of where we are today. We have fought for and earned rights denied to these Victorian women, yet we stand on the precipice once again. I urge you, man or woman, to read these books to better understand the ongoing plight of women.