Book Review: People of Abandoned Character – Clare Whitfield

Book Review: People of Abandoned Character – Clare Whitfield

Release Date:
October 1st 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars


Marry in haste . . . Murder at leisure?

London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes.

Thomas’s behavior becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets. The gentle caresses she enjoyed on her wedding night are now just a honeyed memory.

When the first woman is murdered in Whitechapel, Susannah’s interest is piqued. But as she follows the reports of the ongoing hunt for the killer, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time Thomas stays out late, another victim is found dead.

Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man they call Jack the Ripper?


People of Abandoned Character is the dark and gripping tale of Susannah, a young nurse who falls head over heels for a young and wealthy surgeon at the hospital where she works. They have a whirlwind romance and are very quickly married. When they return to her husband’s home she quickly finds that everything changes as he becomes more violent and argumentative. He stays out late, disappearing for days at a time and often returns covered in blood. As news reaches Susannah of a serial killer murdering women in Whitechapel, she begins to wonder if perhaps her husband could be involved.

This is such a fascinating tale and one that breathes life into the story of Jack the Ripper. This story is a chilling one and I found it difficult to look away. It starts off quite slow paced as we get to know Susannah and Thomas, before ramping up to a point where I read the last hundred pages in one sitting. I loved the setting of the story and the dark, eerie world of Victorian London really came to life in Whitfield’s writing. There were quite a few twists and turns, with an ending I definitely didn’t see coming. The story keeps you hooked right from the very beginning and makes for an incredibly impressive debut.

I really liked Susannah as a main character and I was rooting for her right from the beginning to survive the horrible situation she was in. There are quite a few stark descriptions of violence and there are some gory moments too that make for uncomfortable reading but overall this is a really gripping historical thriller and I am definitely going to pick up more from this author in the future.

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