I am all for seeing things from a different perspective and or point of view. Sometimes when you see something from a different point of view it helps you understand things better and improves the way you look at and see things moving forward. Thus, I enjoy this approach in novels. And this is the approach that Thea Sutton took in her novel The Women Of Blackmouth Street. Sutton has taken one of the most famous murder mysteries and created an interesting twist.
While the plot sticks fairly close to the historic tale, there is absolutely no mention of Jack. All the horror takes place around Dury Lane, a different East End slum. Over crowded with the poor, lost, desperate outsiders of society. London probably had more than her fair share of poor trying to eek out some form of survival, having lost their belief in even eking out a living during the late 19th century.
The streets are just as hazardous for prostitutes. Their murders are just as brutally savage and there is even a double event one night. There are letters to the press, though different from that other story.
The letters provide us one difference, they are also sent directly to the heroine of the story. Maybe heroine is not the right word for her. Lead character might be more apt, and it is her role that takes this telling from mere horror and mystery to a psychological thriller. This psychological approach is one of the unique twists and the other is the feminist approach.
This feminism is not political or ideological in whole, it is more adding feminine qualities to all main aspects of the story. Take the leading character, Georgia, while she is certainly strong-willed, courageous, and determined, she also shows compassion, weakness, and empathy.
Another interesting facet is the inclusion of living historical persons of the time. The James siblings, William, Henry, and Alice all make some appearance in the story. Alice’s role is the more predominant one. Her role while very much minor is also major support that contributes significantly to the overall development and challenges in the novel.
*I received an advance review copy for free. No compensation for review.