Brutal murders also feature in People of Abandoned Character, what seems like the zillionth historical novel based on the crimes of Jack the Ripper. Whitfield, however, is more interested in her protagonist, Susannah, a mistreated wife who suspects that her husband might be the Whitechapel killer, than she is in revisiting the familiar details of the murders. The result is a curious book, not always convincing in its recreation of 1880s London, but certainly compelling in its portrait of Susannah as she struggles to free herself from her terrible marriage.
When nurse susannah Chapman''s marriage to a surgeon goes horribly wrong, his deviant behaviour leads her to suspect that he is Jack the Ripper. The evocation of slum life in Victorian London is shockingly compelling. The workhouse or whorehouse loom large and people of abandoned character do what it takes to stay alive. This impressive debut builds superbly, with plenty of twists and turns.