A gothic tale of a mistreated wife intersects with the story of Jack the Ripper in the gripping debut People of Abandoned Character.
After spending her youth caring for her grandmother and then establishing herself as a nurse in London, Susannah marries a rich, handsome younger surgeon. It's more than the spinster had ever hoped for, but not long after they return from their honeymoon, he begins to become distant. With no support from her husband and with the domineering housekeeper uninterested in letting her take any role in the running of their home, Susannah distracts herself with the newspapers, especially once the first lurid account of a woman murdered in Whitechapel is published. Then she realizes that her husband has been out late or failed to come home every time a new victim was found, sometimes even coming home bloodied. Is her husband the murderer? And is there anyone to whom Susannah can turn with her suspicions?
Whitfield masterfully weaves the story of Jack the Ripper, as it enthralls the citizens of London, with classic gothic suspense elements about a new wife facing more than she expected in a household she cannot quite call her own. Although Rebecca will always come to mind whenever one encounters a secretive husband and a sinister housekeeper, Susannah is a more worldly narrator in spite of floundering in her changed circumstances. She has secrets, and readers will be eager to discover if they will break her or give her the strength to survive. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library