Here’s what came this week (now if only I could finish the book I’ve been reading for the past two weeks … and it’s not because it’s bad, it’s because I’m just not reading). The first was a wish list book from Paperbackswap, the second is a LibraryThing Early Reviewers win.
England in the 1880s was a society in transition, shedding the skin of Victorianism and moving towards a more modern age. Promiscuity, moral decline, prostitution, unemployment, poverty, police inefficiency … all these things combined to create a feeling of uncertainty and fear. The East End of London became the focus of that fear. Here lived the uneducated, poverty-ridden and morally destitute masses. When Jack the Ripper walked onto the streets of the East End he came to represent everything that was wrong with the area and with society as a whole. He was fear in a human form, an unknown lurker in the shadows who could cross boundaries and kill. Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History is not yet another attempt to identify the culprit. Instead, this book sets the murders in their historical context, examining in depth what East London was like in 1888, how it came to be that way, and how events led to one of the most infamous and grisly episodes of the Victorian era.
Maggie Silver is solidly middle class, with a mortgage to pay and an ill mother to support. She does her best to scramble up the ladder at an exclusive, high-powered PR firm in Southern California, whose clients are movie stars and famous athletes. Now, Maggie is being asked to take on her toughest client yet: Senator Henry Paxton, distinguished statesman from Southern California, who also happens to be the father of Anabelle, Maggie’s former high school best friend. Senator Paxton’s young, female aide has been found murdered, and it is up to Maggie to run damage control and prevent a scandal. Thrown back into the Paxton’s glamorous world, Maggie is unexpectedly flooded with memories from the stormy years in high school when her friendship with Anabelle was dramatically severed after a tragedy that neither of them has been able to forget. As Maggie gets further embroiled in the lives of the Paxtons, she realizes that the ties of her old friendship are stronger than she thinks.