Charity's Heart by Sophia Diana Gabel
Reviewed by Nigella.
The author describes with great flourish how dark and dangerous the streets are in her Victorian England of 1888. I like the way Ms Gabel puts forth the chilling reality Jack-the-Ripper is at large on the streets of London. It adds extra thrill when Charity Llewellyn who hails from a good upstanding family is also out and about in rebellious mood and cursing her betrothal to Mathias Baptiste - a man she cannot love and will not love ever in her lifetime. A few unsavoury characters soon add extra thrill and there are times when Charity fears she has stepped too far out of her comfort zone. Her adventurous spirit is doomed when her clandestine soirees are discovered by her father and he then employs a bodyguard to watch over his daughter. Out of boredom Charity turns her attention to Sutton who is as mysterious as the Ripper and she leads him a merry dance until her fiancé decides it is high time Charity is taught a lesson. Mathias Baptiste is a vile and brutal creature with few scruples and lethal morals. Charity loathes Mathias so much she would rather die than be wedded to the hateful man and her wish is all but granted. This story is steeped in mystery and I don’t wish to spoil the plot so it seems sensible to stop here. I did like this novel but will say I found the blow-by-blow metaphors of domestic life in the Llewellyn household a little tedious. IMHO the pace of the novel slowed to a crawl throughout the overly descriptive familial of Charity’s home life.