The Five, a review

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a non-fiction book about the women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper. Instead of focusing on the murderer, however, we focus on the women. Their lives. Their histories. And how they ended up in the slums of London.

Hallie Rubenhold is a historian, so this is very well researched, with endless references at the end of the book (which I love!) and I can’t even imagine just how many hours went into researching this book.

Mary Ann Nichols. Annie Chapman. Elizabeth Stride. Catherine Eddowes. Mary Jane Kelly.

These are the women who came from middle class comfort, from the slums, from Sweden, with families that loved them, or being totally alone in the world.

I loved this book. So so much. We really delve deep into these women’s lives and the lives of their families. We learn exactly how all of them ended up living in their destitute situations and how they were making their living.

These women are often all portrayed as prostitutes and sex workers. Of course there is nothing at all wrong with this, but in Rubenhold’s research she could only find evidence that one of the women worked in this profession. It seems as though the Victorian’s couldn’t imagine a women living in the slums and not being “morally reprehensible” and so they decided that they all must be prostitutes.

Whilst in the modern day we know (or at least I hope you do) that there is nothing wrong with being a sex worker, it’s simply factually incorrect to state that this was these five women’s linking factor. That isn’t why they were murdered. They were women who unfortunately were deemed as easy targets. They weren’t able to find a bed for the night. They were homeless on the streets.

As you can see, I’m pretty passionate about this after having read this book. And I read this months ago! I really do recommend that you pick this up. It reads very well so should be perfectly accessible to those who aren’t keen on non-fiction books usually and is utterly fascinating to just learn about the day to day life of various women in this time period.

CAWPILE isn’t the best measure for non-fiction books (or at least it wasn’t in 2021, G has updated it for 2022) so I just wrote in the scores to give this book a 5 star rating! But I did make a note to give “enjoyment” a 10/10 score.

This is a fantastic read and in my opinion totally worth the hype that it suddenly got all over bookstagram. I hope you do pick this up and I hope you enjoy it!

September TBR

Okay so I NEED to pare back on my tbrs! I massively failed with my August tbr to the point where the books ended up back on the shelf before the end of the month! (okay I can’t lie, it was before week 3 even started). On top of this my life is a *lot* right now and unfortunately I need to prioritise things other than reading.

So speaking of which, let’s get into my not-as-big-as-usual tbr!

First up we have the buzzwordathon prompt which is “dark” and because ya girl needs a fucking break, I’m not going for that in the title of a book. My original plan had been to pick up The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, but I’m going to push that back to my October tbr. If I have time (ha!) then I’ll happily squeeze it in but it’s not in my plans. Instead I’m linking it to a book with a mainly black cover.

Double Cross : Malorie Blackman : 9780141378671

And that is Double Crossed by Malorie Blackman

This is the fourth book in the Noughts and Crosses series which starts out by following Sephie and Callum. A Black girl and a white boy, in a world where whites are considered inferior.

Malorie Blackman covers so many important real world topics in the setting of this reversal of our world.

Of course by book 4 the plot has moved on slightly, and I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m not giving it here. But I’m excited (and nervous because these are heartbreaking) to read this book!

Highlight here for tws:

Cathy's Book: If Found Call 650-266-8233 : Stewart, Sean, Weisman, Jordan:  Amazon.co.uk: Books

Next up is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a decade and that’s Cathy’s Book by Stewart, Weismann and Brigg.

I picked up books 2 and 3 in the series in the US many moons ago, not knowing that I didn’t have the first book. It’s taken this long for me to be able to get my hands on a copy of book 1 and I’m excited to finally dive in!

Multi-media formatted with notes and clue and doodles and phone numbers and yes. I’m excited for this contemporary, YA mystery!

Highlight here for tws:

Doctor Who: Paradox Lost: 157: Amazon.co.uk: Mann, George: 9781849902359:  Books

Book three for September is Paradox Lost by George Mann, a Doctor Who book.

I’ve had this little box set of three books for about 4 years now, after my mum gifted me them one Christmas. I’ve read the other two books in the set so I thought it was about time for me to delve into the last one!

In this one there’s a mystery that has spanned a thousand years, and the Doctor is the only one who can solve it and who can save the planet.

Nothing new there then!

Highlight here for tws:

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold | Waterstones

And last but by no means least! The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This is the only non-fiction book on my tbr, and Rubenhold, a historian, delves into the lives of the five women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper, but who society doesn’t know.

I’m really looking forward to this, macabre as it may sound. I’m hoping that it’s going to be utterly engrossing and highly educational. I can’t wait to learn more about these women who had their lives ripped from them and who have been forgotten by time and society.

It’s one I’ve been seeing everywhere online so fingers crossed I love it!

Highlight here for tws:

I had been hoping to take part in G from Book Roasts Magical Readathon this month. As well as Becca’s Bookopolathon. But it just wasn’t to be. Maybe next time! And maybe for the magical readathon I can give myself a deadline extension and carry it out in October/Novermber??? πŸ˜‰

Let me know what books you’re hoping to read in the month of September and whether you’re taking part in any readathons!!!

First Lines Friday! #24

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

There are two versions of the events of 1887. One is very well known; the other is not.

The first version is the one printed in most history books. It is the one that those who lived through the age wished to recall, the version they recounted to their grandchildren with a wistful smile.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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arrow-pointing-down-animation-with-transparent-background_sao3efrlx_thumbnail-full04  | Arrow painting, Arrow pointing down, Transparent backgroundarrow-pointing-down-animation-with-transparent-background_sao3efrlx_thumbnail-full04  | Arrow painting, Arrow pointing down, Transparent background
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold | Waterstones
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Do you know how many places I’ve seen this book??!? I’m so so excited to read it! And those first lines? So this is a non-fiction read. Those first lines lead me to believe that this is going to be written in a really readable manner rather than like a textbook and I’m very excited for that. Have you heard about this book before? Are you interested? Let me know!

July Book Haul!

A small book haul this month, but I bought both of the books myself!!!

Whilst I was in Portsmouth for my graduation I got to look at the book shelves in the supermarket, as well as in secondhand shops. And I found two gems that I couldn’t leave behind!

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold | Waterstones

First up was the supermarket pick and that is The Five by Hallie Rubenhold which delves into the lives of the five women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper. We never hear about the victims of this criminal, but we hear all about their pseudonym in the press. Historian Rubenhold decided to break this theme and delve into their lives and I am really excited to pick this one up! (and the cover being gorgeous is a massive plus)

Cathy's Book - Wikipedia

Cathy’s Book by Stewart, Weismann and Brigg is one that has been on my radar for around a decade now as I bought books 2 and 3 when I was a kid in the US on holiday (and of course didn’t realise) and I’ve needed book 1 all this time!! This isn’t exactly my cover, mine has an email address instead of a phone number. But it’s the exact same design. It doesn’t quite match the covers that I have, but the spines match, the theme is the same, and to be honest it’s been like a decade and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this book in person in the UK so I was NOT going to pass this up!!

And those are my two July books! Not a big one this month but I’m wanting to keep up to date after the avalanche that happened at the mid year check in πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ have you gotten any new books this month? Have you read them yet? I’m having to use a lot of self control for these two!