On the recommendation of a fellow blogger [now sadly no longer blogging] I purchased this book. The initial draw was the fact that Mary Kelly was the last known victim of Jack The Ripper, but leaving that fact aside I found it a compelling read.
The official blurb
On a damp Saturday morning in November 1888, the horribly mutilated remains of a young woman are found in a small room in Miller’s Court, a squalid backwater running off of Dorset Street – oft times referred to as ‘the worst street in London’. The body is identified as that of twenty-five year old Mary Jane Kelly, the fifth and final victim of Jack the Ripper. But who can be really sure it is her? And if it is, then what strange course of events led her to this fatal meeting?
The Seduction of Mary Kelly is a novel – not about the investigation into the serial killings; there are no policemen doggedly tracking down the killer in this book, but rather it is the story of a young woman’s journey: from the poverty of a childhood spent in a small Welsh mining village, through a short-lived marriage and its awful aftermath; to the mean streets of Cardiff where violence is never far away, then into the highest circles of London society, before the fall from grace that brings her to the very brink of destitution – and possibly to her death at the hands of the Whitechapel murderer. Mary Kelly’s story is an epic one, depicting Victorian society at its best and worst, and weaving threads of deceit and betrayal, love, friendship, determination and courage that bring those two worlds inexorably together.
The author clearly states that this is not a JTR story, nor can many of the twists and turns of Mary’s life be known to the accuracy of his writings – essentially it is a fictional account. But even so it is gritty and gripping, to see and almost know that the good deeds of a well meaning friend can by twist of fate draw the down lower than the woes of the person they are trying to help.
It raises the interesting point that if you show someone the world, are you opening them up to inevitable failure when life will dictate their place. Sort of like “Anyone can be president son, but in reality you’ll be down the mine like me and ya Dada”.
Once I have finished Lorna Doone, I am intending to get part two of this riveting read.