Jack the Ripper has been a topic of speculation over the years as to who the Ripper really was. There were numerous suspects, including Prince Albert Victor,Duke of Clarence and Avondale, son of King Edward VII. This novel however, is about Florie and James Maybrick, loosely based on the Jack the Ripper Diary. Florence Chandler (Florie) met James Maybrick, a cotton broker, onboard ship and were married shortly after that. It appeared to be a fairytale marriage, but not is all as it appears. James was taking arsenic, strychnine and other chemicals at an alarming rate for his supposed illnesses. His personality changed and he became extremely violent to Florie, often beating her senseless. He was also unfaithful, having many mistress and five illegitimate children. Florie had purchased a diary for her new husband he started writing his 'crimes' against women and his dark and demented thoughts. Florie has an affair which even fuels James even more to commit and have a reason for his murderous nature.
Because of his drug use, he becomes very ill and asks that Florie help end his life which she does try to do but can't complete the request. A bit of arsenic is left in the water she gives him and he eventually dies. Florie is suspected, tried and convicted of the murder. She loses everything in her life including her children and place in society. There were many different motives as to why she may have killed him, but I like to think that she didn't do it and was unjustly punished. She spends 14 years in prison and is released. She returns to America where she does the lecture circuit proclaiming her innocence, she also writes a book about her life.
The Rippers Wife is a dark, sad story of a woman who only wants the love of her husband and to be a mother. With James and his addiction their life is anything but happy. I think that the author did an amazing job telling their story, infusing the acts of a murderer with demented and cruel thoughts and deeds. I personally don't think that Florie killed him, he had a lifetime of arsenic poisoning that ultimately ended his life but with people who did not like Florie, it was easy to convict her of murdering him. This is not a story that you can read in one sitting, Brandy's writing is very descriptive and compelling. I love her books and this one is no exception and I find it refreshing that she is able to write something besides the Tudors with such conviction. Be warned, this is a book that has a lot of colorful language and if you are offended by that this may not be the book for you but I feel that because the book is about Jack the Ripper, there can be no other way to tell the story without the vulgarity. I thoroughly enjoyed the book recommend it for anyone who is interested in Jack the Ripper and wants a different perspective to who he really was.