Book Review | “The Ripper’s Wife” by Brandy Purdy

Posted Friday, 31 October, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsThe Ripper’s Wife by Brandy Purdy

Published By:Kensington Publishing Corp. ()
Official Author Websites:  Blog | *previously this author had a website and Facebook
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

Converse on Twitter via: #TheRippersWife, #BrandyPurdy & #EmilyPurdy

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Acquired Book By: Whilst the blog tour for “The Boleyn Bride” was underway with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was making my rounds to the different blogs who were hosting either an Author Interview or a Book Review, or a combination thereof. Although I was not personally connected to the blog tour myself, I oft-times find that the books which tour with HFVBT are ones that I am interested in and thereby my visits on their tour are a pure delight for me! As I am as bubbly on my visits as I am on my own blog as well as Twitter, I left some happy-hearted comments on behalf of this book & author. As she was a new-to-me author as at that point in time I had not heard of her works or known of her works as well as I do now. Shortly after my visits, I received a note from Ms. Purdy asking me if I would be interested in reading her novels. I previously received “The Boleyn Bride” and “The Queen’s Rivals”. Whilst I was working on my reviews for these novels, and putting together my interview with Ms. Purdy, she offered me to read her next release which was “The Ripper’s Wife”.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Ripper’s Wife” direct from the author’s publicist at Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how I know Ms. Purdy: As I was contacted originally to read both “The Boleyn Bride” and “The Queen’s Rivals”, we came to find ourselves enjoying the conversation which flowed together rather organically out of that correspondence. I have appreciated getting to know a fellow writer, especially one who writes historical fiction as that is one branch of literature although I deeply appreciate to read, was always a bit trepiderious to pen! I give such a strong nod to the writers who write such delicious historicals, because they give us a way to drink in history in an agreeable manner! I am honoured to have been given the chance to get to know her better in the process of scheduling the reviews on my blog. She even kindly enclosed bookmarks which feature her novels, and I’ve been enjoying them as I read! Bookmarks have become one of my favourite surprises to find enclosed within a book I receive for review!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through the past few months by email. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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A note about why I was interested in reading “The Ripper’s Wife”:

I think most readers of historical fiction have come across the story of Jack the Ripper at one point or another, as the legend and lore behind the criminal mind who was Jack the Ripper has long since been re-imagined, re-told, and attempted to be brought to life on the printed page. My interest was sparked after having a conversation on The Word Wenches blog in 2013 about whether or not the real identity of the person behind the crimes was actually known; as the debate on the identity was still thick with various reports of the evidential truth. The topic has continued to become a lively debate, with new evidence emerging out of a shawl (I believe it was a shawl) yet I am not sure if the whole story will ever truly be put to bed so to speak. Between the numerous tests and the variables of time dissolving away testimonials evidence of who was alive at the time everything happened; it sparks a wonder inside the mind of a writer who wants to take on the lore and dig deeper into the story behind the horror of what happened.

When Ms. Purdy offered me a chance to read her next release in time for Halloween, part of me was curious on the level that so much is known yet incredibly so much is unknown at the same time. For me, I approached this novel from the stand-point of it being a historical fiction true crime novel with the realisation that parts of the story would be a bit more disturbing than my regular faire of choices, but with a unique point-of-view to drive the narrative forward. On that note, I was curious to see where Purdy would take the story from ‘the wife of Jack the Ripper’ in this variation of the story.

Book Review | “The Ripper’s Wife” by Brandy PurdyThe Ripper's Wife
by Brandy Purdy
Source: Direct from Publicist

"Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend."

It begins as a fairytale romance--a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.

From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James's secrets are infinitely darker--he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband's depravity until she discovers his diary--and in it, a litany of bloody deeds.

Read more behind the story on the author's blog: the Women of Jack the Ripper on the author's fascination with her subject.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: , The Boleyn Bride

Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.

on 28th October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 368

Author Biography:

Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, watching classic movies, or spending time with her cat, Tabby. She first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten when she read a book of ghost stories that contained a chapter about the ghost of Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.

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Bringing the reader into the psychosis of being married to the Ripper:

Before you can even begin reading the story Purdy has given on behalf of one of the most notoriously well-known criminals in history, she provides with a mere tasting of a glimpse inside the mind of Mrs. Maybrick. Mrs. Maybrick has arrived at the precise hour where any horror she might have preconceived as being true is about to be spilt into the stratosphere, as she’s found the diary which records the crimes of her husband. I cannot even properly imagine what it would be like to be in that position, but it is the way in which period detail and haunting revelation of whom she’s married to is etched into a quick excerpt ahead of the novel’s beginning that makes this a chilling read to contemplate settling inside.

Purdy has an alacrity for bringing the foreboding presence of a master criminal to life through the voice of his wife, as Mrs. Maybrick has an incredible observational evocation inside The Ripper’s Wife. The manner in which the diary is first discussed and turnt on it’s spine, to give the strongest of impressions that any other book would be more welcomed in a person’s library than this recorded book of horror makes you dig your heels into where the next paragraph will take you. Your nerves are a bit frayed to begin with knowing what you know already, but by getting inside the head space of Mrs. Maybrick it turns the known tale on it’s pointed edge and drives home a darkening sense of what was truly going on in the mind of someone who had lost all ties to reality and humanity.

My Review of The Ripper’s Wife:

The story of how the ribbons of unrest unravelled for Mrs. Maybrick, as she drew further into the pathos of realising the innocently romantic bloke she married was quite a far step outside the normal range of where a human heart could deceive and vindictively become ambivalent to what is accepted as unjustly wrong and evil paves the path towards understanding who the woman was behind the facade of a marriage built on an unspoken lie. Here I am referring to the fact that James Maybrick was not entirely forthright in how he approached Florence Chandler (lateron known as Florie) nor in how he carried on with a sinister existence concurrent to their martial life together. The strength of Florie’s voice in the opening chapter is wicked strong, a woman who is bent back against her own anguish and her own plight where only the truth remains to be unfolded, dissected, and either accepted or dismissed. This is her story and she is electing to paint the picture as it had begun, allowing for whomever were to read her words to judge her in a way they would only see to befit the disclosure of events.

It is a curious approach, as it strikes straight to the sociological mindset of Mrs. Maybrick, as she is not apologetically approaching who her husband turnt out to be, but rather, saying quite plainly, if you feel this couldn’t happen to you – beware! There is something alluring in the approach of telling a story through a character who has reached a point in her life where leaving behind a clause of concern out of reproachful eyes and an urgency for simply revealing the truth she lived sparks an interest to see how far Purdy would take the reader down this path into the darkening thick void.

Florie isn’t the kind of wife to have the wool hidden over her eyes, but the charming personality of her husband outwits her sense of alarming suspicion. She has little clues and glimpses into his devious traits outside their marriage, but she finds ways to dismiss these observations out of hand and out of sight. I personally think she was so committed to being in love and being passionately committed to her husband that she did not want to find the truth that would break them apart. She wanted to live within the dream which transmeshed out of her mind and into her living reality – and who could blame her? Each time I find her stumbling across another passageway of truth about James Maybrick I start to build a sense of expectancy inside me; is this the moment she finally pieces together the clues? Is she going to be bold enough to accept what she has built a lifetime’s worth of memories around a fragile reality that is simply no longer able to hold true inside her mind?

Where I had a few concerns about the novel as a whole, as I wasn’t entirely sure if I could handle the story-line completely even when I agreed to receive this novel for review; as who truly knows what they can handle before they read a story? I must lament that my concerns melted away, because what I found inside was not a typical Horror infused novel but rather a psychologically stirring account of how the connective tethers within one woman’s mind starts to flicker in and out of what might even be considered sane. She questions everything about her life, from the choices she made to how to live with the path she’s walked. This is a psychological suspense in the sense that you are truly intrigued by how Florie is going to step outside the shadow of her husband, live with the horrid legacy he left behind in the wake of so much death, and allow herself to take the furtive steps forward whilst she still has hours to live.

A notation on the Content of the Story:

I knew going in this novel would push the envelope for me for being on the opposite side of where I would prefer crime fiction to take me, having said that, I decided to skip over the more gruesome depictions of the character of Jack the Ripper, and dig into the heart of his wife and the angle in which this novel was bolstered around and told. I wanted to approach this story with an open mind, and suspend a bit my distaste for visceral imagery that might borderline on or descend directly into the nightmarish realms as given the subject of the novel itself, I am not sure how you can pen a story without steeping directly into the genre of Horror! Therefore, I felt it was altogether fitting this would post on Halloween and be the capstone of my participation in Horror October, as it would be the one novel that is quite literally within the genre being celebrated and not ideally one I might have picked for myself originally.

My curiosity in sociology and my penchant for historical perspectives brought forward out of realistic story-lines from history itself is what led me to be curious to read this novel. I would have to say that the content is not advised for the sensitive of heart nor for anyone who is not interested in a novel based on a true crime narrative. I am not sure if I would re-visit this branch of crime fiction within a historical arc of narrative, but I was thankful that I could read one story thread based on the lore of what has become Jack the Ripper and for that I am grateful. I would go further to say that this is most likely as close as I will become to reading straight-up Horror.

I can attest there is such a hearty breadth of historical narrative voice inside this novel, that whichever bits I might have overlooked and passed over from reading did not disrupt the flow of the story for me! In fact, one thing I have come to learn about Brandy Purdy is that she knits in such a heart of descriptive voice as to beg your attention to focus on the smaller details that are knitted together in-between the larger reveals. She has a cunning sense of how to transport you through time and arrive at a fixed moment in history that will leave you with a firm sense of the era and of the characters she has created on the pages within her novels.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBookish Events by Brandy Purdy:

  {tour route} LIVE during October/November 2014!

Previously she toured with HFVBT:

Special Announcements from the Author:

To celebrate the release of The Ripper’s Wife I will be doing a live chat on Facebook at Hollywood Book Chat hosted by James Zeruk Jr. on November 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm Central time (4:00 pm Eastern time, 1:00 pm Pacific Time). For more information, and to join, please visit the event’s Facebook Page.

One of my works in progress, a biography of Robert “Bobby” Harron is announced here. A non-fiction work about a silent film actor which will be my first work of non-fiction. I am also working on a novel about Lizzie Borden scheduled to release in 2015.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis book review is courtesy of the author Brandy Purdy:

I am thankful our paths crossed on her blog tour

for The Boleyn Bride which made this possible! 

Please visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

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This review is being cross-promoted & contributed to my participation of:

#OTBHorrorOctober badge created by Jorie in Canva

Reader Interactive Question:

Do you like reading historical fiction based on historical fact in regards to criminal minds who eluded capture and created a legend around their crimes? What draws you to read crime fiction in general if it is a genre you enjoy reading and what led to your own interest in the story behind Jack the Ripper?

{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Ripper’s Wife”,  Author Biography and Book Synopsis of the novels were provided by the author Brandy Purdy and used with permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Friday, 31 October, 2014 by jorielov in #HorrorOctober, 19th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Britian, Clever Turns of Phrase, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Excessive Violence in Literature, Geographically Specific, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Horror, Indie Author, Jack the Ripper, Mental Health, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, the Victorian era, True Crime, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

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