4.4 5
by Amy Carol Reeves

“I felt hot breath on my neck, and, horrified, I knew that he stood behind me . . .”

It’s 1888, and after her mother’s sudden death, Abbie is sent to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. When she begins volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, Abbie finds she has a passion for helping the abused and sickly women


“I felt hot breath on my neck, and, horrified, I knew that he stood behind me . . .”

It’s 1888, and after her mother’s sudden death, Abbie is sent to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. When she begins volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, Abbie finds she has a passion for helping the abused and sickly women there.

But within days, patients begin turning up murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. As more women are murdered, Abbie realizes that she and the Ripper share a strange connection: she has visions showing the Ripper luring his future victims to their deaths—moments before he turns his knife upon them. Her desperation to stop the massacres leads Abbie on a perilous hunt for the killer. And her search leads to a mysterious brotherhood whose link to the Ripper threatens not just London but all of mankind.

“Well written . . . Reeves cleverly uses one of the most heinous figures from history to tell a gothic tale with a paranormal twist.”—VOYA

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reeves’s debut is a chilling reimagining of London in 1888, haunted by Jack the Ripper. After Arabella Sharp’s mother dies suddenly, the 17-year-old moves from Dublin to an affluent London neighborhood where her grandmother lives. In an attempt to civilize Arabella, her grandmother makes her volunteer at White­chapel Hospital in the city’s dodgy East End. It’s hardly punishment: Arabella enjoys helping the patients, who are mostly prostitutes, but she begins to have visions of a chalice, hooded men, and gruesome murders of patients that she cannot stop in time; it’s up to Arabella to discover the killer’s ties to her family before he strikes again. Meanwhile, she develops an intense crush on one of the doctors, and a police inspector asks for her help with an investigation. Reeves offers a determined and free-thinking heroine in Arabella, and the ending suggests readers haven’t seen the last of her. Along with recent takes on Ripper lore from Maureen Johnson and Stefan Petrucha, Reeves’s story should help sustain interest in this grisly 19th-century mystery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jessica Sinsheimer, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. (Apr.)
VOYA - Adrienne Amborski
Set in London's gaslight era, this compelling debut features an orphan teen with premonitions, a love triangle, and the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Due to her mother's untimely death, Abbie, at age seventeen, is removed from her working-class life in Dublin and shipped to London to live with her patrician grandmother. Abbie is then sent to help at the New Hospital to aid the poor women of the gritty Whitechapel district until a suitable marriage can be arranged. She becomes plagued by premonitions of evil and soon after, discharged patients become victims of brutal serial killings. Meanwhile at the hospital, Abbie is attracted to William, an aloof physician, but she also garners the attention of Simon, a young physician of social standing. As the killings continue, Abbie is introduced to a close circle of learned men who congregate at a local estate and harbor a secret society. As the mysteries of Abbie's past begin to surface, she must decide if she is to become a member of the elite secret society, which is looking for its first female member. As she faces Jack the Ripper, who exhibits paranormal abilities, she is forced to destroy the evil doers that surround her new life. Well written, Ripper will appeal to teen readers, especially fans of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series. Reeves cleverly uses one of the most heinous figures from history to tell a gothic tale with a paranormal twist. Reviewer: Adrienne Amborski
VOYA - Gwen Amborski
Ripper is a very captivating book. Reeves keeps the novel interesting with multiple twists and turns. The characters in the book do not follow the behavior of the Victorian era, and therefore are interesting to today's teens. Because it is written from Abbie's point of view, the reader can relate to her and the book is easy to enjoy. This debut book will appeal to older teens looking for an enthralling paranormal mystery. Reviewer: Gwen Amborski, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Arabella Sharp, orphaned at 17, has come to stay with her only living relative, a grandmother she has never met. Lady Charlotte and her daughter, Abbie's mother, had been estranged since before Abbie's birth. Having grown up on the rough-and-tumble streets of Dublin, where her mother scraped by as a governess, Abbie feels constrained by the status-conscious lifestyle of the Kensington district of London, where her grandmother's mansion is located. Convinced that a little hard labor will make her errant granddaughter appreciate the comforts of upper-class life, Lady Charlotte arranges for the teen to spend some time toiling at Whitchapel Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Bartlett, a family friend. At the hospital, Abbie discovers that her combination of brains, street smarts, and inquisitiveness makes her a natural for the medical field. Just as she feels she has found her niche, London is rocked by a series of gruesome murders, all connected to the hospital. Much to Abbie's horror, she discovers that she has a psychic connection to the killer, Jack the Ripper, and sees visions of each crime. Soon she finds herself pursued by the murderer, a cabal of immortals, and two handsome doctors. Abbie is a strong, smart heroine who chafes at the sexist constraints of 19th-century English society. An entertaining mystery with plenty of action and a touch of the paranormal.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A rebellious young woman of high station finds her calling--and much more--volunteering in an East London hospital just as the Jack the Ripper murders commence. Abbie Sharp, newly orphaned, finds herself chafing under the restrictions imposed by her snooty grandmother, who threw her mother out years before for her wild ways. Grandmother's attempt to teach Abbie responsibility by making her work at the charity hospital backfires when the girl becomes increasingly interested in the welfare of its prostitute patients. Abbie, meanwhile, finds herself more reliant on the street-fighting skills she picked up in Dublin than she ever expected. And she's also having visions… What could they mean? Narrator Abbie is a boilerplate spunky heroine, and she falls into an equally formulaic romance with a prickly-but-deep handsome physician. Debut author Reeves holds a PhD in 19th-century British literature, and she brings her research to bear on the background story. She appears to have decided not to apply it to her prose, however, which is littered with colloquially modern constructions ("I am simply going to have to be all right with…"; "[it] was fine with me"). Abbie performs astonishing feats of athleticism without ever being hampered by her skirt. Moreover, the paranormal twist feels wrenched into place. For more effective reboots of the Jack the Ripper legend, try Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star (2011) or Stefan Petrucha's Ripper (2012). Skip. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Meet the Author

Amy Carol Reeves has a PhD in 19th century British Literature and a master’s degree in British Literature from the University of South Carolina. She became entranced by the idea for Ripper, her debut novel, after meeting Donald Rumbelow, a world-recognized expert on Jack the Ripper. Reeves is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, and lives with her husband and two children in Columbia, S.C. For more information, visit her online at:

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Ripper 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Krs10Anne More than 1 year ago
I admit, I've never imagined myself reading a fictional story about Jack the Ripper. However, Amy Carol Reeves (or Dr. Reeves as I see in her bio) was able to spin a tale that made me thirsty for more. I found myself hooked and was on the edge of my seat (and biting my nails) the last 100 pages of the book. Reeves not only tells a great story, but does it so with such well-written imagery and easy-to-read dialogue. A kick-butt leading lady, love triangles, creepy villains, links to ancient brotherhoods--- Who could want more??????
BekkatheAuthor More than 1 year ago
Brilliant and frightening!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buried-in-Books More than 1 year ago
Arabella, or Abbie as her friends call her, feels trapped in the Kensington high society her grandmother wants her to travel in and jumps at the opportunity to work at the hospital in Whitechapel. In fact, she spends as much time as possible there to escape the teas and gossip her grandmother insists she attend. And her mother and grandmother were estranged at the time of her mother's death. Her grandmother disowned Abbie's mother for eloping with a French poet. At first, the work is gruesome and some of the doctors and nurses don't think she's up to the challenge of the hard labor being the granddaughter of Lady Westfield. But, they don't know she's grown up on the streets of Dublin and lived a hard life in between her mother's governess jobs. She's an expert with a knife and gone without food at times for lack of money. She's not the privileged girl they expect and she proves not only invaluable but extremely intelligent and willing to learn. In fact, she has determined she wants to go to medical college. And her grandmother's friend that runs the hospital, Dr. Bartlett, has taken a special interest in her education and in her, treating her as an equal instead of just a woman, as many men would have in that day. But, then, patients from the Whitechapel Hospital start dying the day they are voluntarily released. Dying by the hand of a psychopathic murderer. I think we all know the Jack the Ripper stories so I won't go into the details. This story puts a different if implausible twist on who Jack the Ripper was, but it was an interesting story. I didn't realize this was a paranormal story until I was midway through but I feel a little dumb, visions should have clued me in. I also felt a little confused as I read, like maybe a little too much was going on. There was the Jack the Ripper killings, the romance (love triangle) and then another aspect that I won't mention because it will be a spoiler. And the paranormal story which didn't only include Abbie's visions. I didn't know what to focus on. It turned out that two of the storylines converged into one and the love triangle resolved easily so eventually things came together, but for a bit, I had too many names and tangents to try to remember what was going on. I liked Abbie, she was analytical and as she tells the story, she spoke in the cool calm tones of women of that day and social standing were required to. She reminded me of the women from a Jane Austen novel (not the silly ones). Even when she was scared out of her mind, she remained calm and able to focus and keep cool. She did what a proper lady would do. William and Simon are two of the doctors at the Whitechapel Hospital that admire/desire Abbie. Mary Kelly works at the hospital, too. Abbie got her a job there. And then there are the infamous parties at Dr. Bartlett's home where his housemates reside, a professor of literature, a reverend and a scientist. And Bartlett's nephew Max who pops in and out of the house. Abbie finds herself intrigued by him but repelled by him as well. In all, I really enjoyed the story. It definitely wasn't trying to solve the Jack the Ripper murders with the paranormal twist to it, but I liked what Reeves added to the story. It was always to me a bit scary, with London being gloomy or dark or rainy. And those big old houses with their four stories and not enough people to fill them. Gothic, romantic, dangerous, and Jack the Ripper. All with a paranormal twist.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
History at its most sensational and lurid form, RIPPER follows Arabella as she becomes intertwined with the brutal serial murders against all better judgment. Instead of sticking to her upper crust grandmother’s plans for snagging a good marriage, Abbie gets too involved with her volunterring at the Whitechapel Hospital and uncovers some dark secrets about the physicians there. Should she trust a handsome face with some pretty manners or the fatherly figure who encourages her to pursue the medical profession? Between late nights at the hospital and grisly unpredictable precognitions, the last thing Abbie needs is to turn down the wrong alley and bump into the wrong person at the wrong time for the worst possible reasons. I find it hard to pinpoint my feelings for RIPPER. On the one hand, the time flew by as I wanted to find out what exactly Abbie was getting herself into at Whitechapel Hospital. Alleys drenched in blood and guts, secret societies wanting the unattainable, a woman testing her boundaries to expand her knowledge, RIPPER seems to have everything going for it – even a love triangle with two equally attractive men. Then again, while the pages flew, I cannot say that I was left with that WOW feeling at the end. It was more like a hmmm…? as if the story should have had a teensy bit more to really spice things up. The sense of dread, while present, never seemed to reach that boiling point where everything bubbled over to where I started frantically rushing through pages to see if the mess would right itself. RIPPER was good and enjoyable as it stands, but I think it needed something extra – whether it be more tension, more action, more horror, more drama – to really throw me into a deeper and darker rabbit hole.