People of Abandoned Character
Author: Clare Whitfield
Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction
Preorder/ Buy: Amazon
Story in 1888…
It begins with a funeral, Susannah Chapman embarks a journey to become a nurse in a hospital. The story progresses quickly into a marriage to a physician. When she tied the knot to Thomas Lancaster, Susannah could not believe her luck as she married at the old age of thirty.
The first two chapters of the book are happy, Susannah is in a state of happiness, convinced that all her hard work has come into fruition. The story is in first person point of view, which is the heroine’s.
Trouble in Whitechapel
The title itself hints about People of Abandoned Character, Susannah finds the murders of Whitechapel fascinating, a distraction from the problems at home. Her husband finds fault in her actions, while the housekeeper Mrs Wiggs seem to contradict her decisions at home. Her obsession to the murder has us following her to investigate the killings in the slums of London.
As she moves closer to finding out who had been mutilating girls, Susannah finds that her husband is not what he seems to be. Every step brings us closer to the murderer of Whitechapel.
There are many red herrings in the story. Every page a different suspect, every chapter a new revelation. Even though not all are in relation to the murders, it is enough to keep the pages turning. The People of Abandoned Character is not a murder thriller, it is also a complex story playing at emotions, fears and insecurities. The story works because Susanah has a past, and she can relate to the victims of the murder.
And because she is a smart and intellectual woman, she is ever practical, to the point of cold- bloodedness. I admire that about Susannah, though her husband Thomas Lancaster leaves a lot to be desired.
There are a lot of reasons to like the book, the main one for me is the many layers of complexity. Sure, the principal theme is the murders, but Susannah is an interesting character to be. Her relationship with her husband and the housekeeper adds some relationship problems. This makes her seem real and I can easily understand her reasoning (even though I might not agree). In the end, I am in love with the ending.
It is not in a rush, and we get to know the real her as she embarks on a new journey, artfully done. I love it, rarely you will find an ending that fits the starting point.
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