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  • meganrichard

Rubenhold Writes Much Needed Historical Novel

Contributed by Megan Richard

Although almost everyone knows the story of Jack the Ripper, this book is a must read to get more insight on the lives of the women who were a victim of his crime and not of the person who committed the crime.

Book Synopsis

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that "the Ripper" preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time

—but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.


This is an eye opening and revelatory history of the real lives of the women killed by the infamous murderer, Jack the Ripper. This is a wonderful book and an enlightening one. - Goodreads Reviewer

It is very clear that Rubenhold has done her research for this book, and she masterfully keeps a fine balance between telling the story of each of the five women's lives, and the pure, solid research and creating the atmosphere of what life would have been like at that particular time.

The focus until now has really been on the killer himself and the poor women have never been given a voice. But here Hallie Rubenhold does just that - she gives these women their voices back. - Goodreads Reviewer

The research involved in this astonishing book is incredible, all the woman are made human, sentient beings who you love and want to reach back into history and give a helping hand to. wives, mothers, daughters, that fate dealt a terrible and grisly deal. - Amazon Reviewer

About the Author

Hallie Rubenhold is a social historian whose expertise lies in rediscovering the stories of previously unknown women and episodes in history. The Five is the first full-length biography of the victims of Jack the Ripper to be published since 1888. By drawing upon a wealth of previously unseen archival material and adding a much-needed historical context to the victims’ lives, The Five promises to change the narrative of these murders forever.

Source: Amazon and Goodreads


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