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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: Ripped: A Jack the Ripper Time-Travel Thriller by Shelly Dickson Carr

Title: Ripped - A Jack the Ripper Time-Travel Thriller
Author: Shelly Dickson Carr
Publisher: New Book Partners
Publishing Date: December 2012
Length: 520 pages
Editions: print, ebook
Source: Netgalley for honest review

Katie Lennox wishes her parents were still alive. Having to leave Boston to live with Grandma Cleaves in London was hard, but she's making new friends, working on her British accent and even learning some Cockney rhyming slang. London's cool and actually feels like home in some ways, like she's been here before, belongs here. When a museum visit with her cousin and his cute friend turns funky, Katie finds herself in a long, uncomfortable dress, wearing a ridiculous hat, wondering what happened to her jeans and high-top sneakers? And where's her iPhone?... It's London, 1888. Smart and gutsy, Katie knows she's here to stop Jack the Ripper. The serial killer didn't just slash his victims' throats; he butchered the women. Katie has read about the Ripper, knows the names of his victims and where and when they were killed. She's watched her fair share of CSI. Can Katie save their lives?

A_TiffyFit's Review
Kate, the protagonist in this story, gets her wish and travels back in time to London 1888, the time when the notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper, roamed the London streets in the Whitechapel area, and frightened its citizens so famously. She swears to herself that she'll discover who Jack the Ripper is and stop him from killing innocent women, but mostly to stop him from killing one of her ancestors.

In the process, Katie discovers and learns a lot about Victorian England, experiencing what the like was like for both the common people as well as the noble. What Katie finds out is that it isn't as she has always imagined it. Although she's read many books pertaining to its time, she had romanticized the period, so when she actually had to experience a few of the actual life styles, all those fanciful thoughts were promptly dashed. For instance, the beautiful gowns and accessories she had so admired and fantasized wearing were not as she had imagined! The binding corsets, the sheer number of undergarments that ladies had to wear to support the yards and yards of heavy but "gorgeously embellished" fabrics were not to her liking. She disliked the inability to breathe properly in a stifling environment because of those tightly bound corsets, which isn't something a woman can even get into alone, but rather must be aided by a lady's maid servant. Then there's her discovery of the males and learning not all is as she thought. A dashing, charming Romeo they were not, but rather she finds them highly chauvinistic and often unable to be withstood due to their opinions of women.

Although the story was fun, imagining time-traveling and the possibility of changing history, at times I found myself lost, not quite understanding what the point of this story was. I felt it sidetracked often and far away from the original idea, where Katie would ease her suffering of losing her parents and the distancing from her sister by somehow affecting something in the past so that the pains of her heart are eased.

Yes, in the end, those things did come together, but I lost the point of what Jack the Ripper had to do with Katie.

I came off the story feeling satisfied because of the wrap up, but couldn't shake the feeling that something was just off about the novel/story as a whole, something I may have missed, etc. It's hard to describe this vague feeling of unfinished business or muddled sense of satisfaction, but the tangents disrupted the flow and threw me off. All in all, an enjoyable book. 

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