A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

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 ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

SYNOPSIS

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.


Why should you read THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful. She looks up at him, startled, from the bed.

– Things in Jars, Jess Kidd

I love reading historical fiction and if it has a hint of mystery and/or fantasy mixed into it, I’ll jump on it right away. This was my first time reading a Jess Kidd novel and I can’t believe I didn’t come across her writing before.

Things in Jars is set in the year 1863 when London was a cesspool of crimes and diseases. We follow the story of a female detective Bridie Devine as she attempts to rescue 6 year old Christobel, the kidnapped child of a Lord Berwick. It certainly doesn’t help Bridie that she is a female in a world of male detectives and that she was unable to prevent the death of a child in her last case.

Christobel is not an ordinary child for it seems that she has extraordinary abilities, can play with others’ memories. Her eyes see too much and she has pike’s teeth that can wreak serious damage. However, Bridie is determined not to fail another child and thus, she with her giant but wonderful maid Cora and the ghost of a prizefighter named Ruby, she sets out on a dangerous path to find Christobel.

The timelines are divided are divided into two as we go back to Bridie’s past and come back to her present. Bridie’s past shows us her coming from Ireland when she was a child, collecting corpses with Gan, her time as laboratory assistant to Dr John Eames at Albery Hall, and wearing the clothes of the dead Lydia. We learn soon enough that Bridie’s past links into her current investigation.

… the low, thick fog that has descended upon the city like an unwashed bedsheet. Oh, the unwholesome colour! Like sinus rot, and dense, like only a London Particular can be. You could scoop it into a tankard and it would mug there.

– THINGS IN JARS, JESS KIDD

I can’t sing enough praises about Jess Kidd‘s writing. Her characters are so lively and colourful that they leap out of the page and you stare at them in wonder. Besides Bridie’s housekeeper/friend Cora, the ghost of a boxer who’s in love with Bridie, we also meet characters such as the predatory and sly Mrs Bibby and the viciously dangerous Gideon.

It had all the elements of a perfect Victorian-era detective novel. There are gruesome murders, double dealing, never ending rains that threaten to tear down a city, and deadly villians that come back to haunt from the dead. In a time when medical profession was bound by any ethics, Jess KIdd immaculately describes the gruesome outcome when the penchant of curiosities knows no bound. She writes about corrupt anatomy collectors who are desperate to acquire living anomalies by any means necessary and preserve them in their jars.

Overall, I highly recommend this book not only because of its encorporation of fantasy and mystery, beautifully alive characters, and the storytelling but also because of the brilliant author who wrote it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Connect with Author Jess Kidd here .

  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication Date: 04 April 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 416 Pages

Do you think you’ll read THINGS IN JARS? Do you like reading historical fiction set in the Victorian era? Have you read any similar books or Jess Kidd’s previous books namely The Hoarder and Himself ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Why should you read The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton |Spoiler-ish Review

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

Synopsis: GRACE ATHERTON HAS FALLEN OUT OF LOVE … AND INTO LIFE

Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Keeper of Lost Things, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is the story of a woman who has her heart broken, but then puts it back together again in the most uplifting and exquisite way.


Buy on Amazon | Book Depository||Add it on Goodreads

REVIEW | WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS BOOK ?

I hate it when books have cheating (among other things) and of course, this book had it #spoileralert . This is not mentioned until after you read a couple of pages so I was outraged and wanted to stop reading it.

However, I am glad I didn’t.

Let me tell you a bit about this book. You might have guessed from the title of the book, our protagonist is Grace Atherton. Grace is a violin maker and her entire life revolves around her partner of eight years, David (besides her violin shop).

Grace continues her affair with David knowing that he is married and hoping that one day he will divorce his wife and marry her. This is where I almost stopped reading this book. Then I realized, this is one of Grace’s Truths.

She can’t be without David, he is the only person who Grace thinks is her family. There are a number of things Grace went through especially during her time at college and I will not spoil that for you.

While I was playing the blaming game, I forgot to mention David, who is the real scumbag and I kept banging my head at what could Grace have seen in this man. Again, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

I got off track for a bit. So, what happens is Grace is also preparing for a violin showcase in Italy, where one violin will win an award called the tone prize. This award show is extremely prestigious and Grace is unnerved because she also has to perform a symphony there. Grace has tried therapy but it was to avail. Finally, Grace triumphs will the help of her two friends – a teenage girl named Nadia and an eighty years old man named Mr. williams.

The writing was synonymous with a symphony. It’s ironic of course because violins play a major part in the lives of Grace, Nadia, and Mr. Williams. I had to skim the parts where words related to violin making were used but I loved Anstey Harris’ writing which reminded me a bit of the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. 

Grace is a heavily flawed but immensely relatable character. Her character development within the novel gave me such joy and the ending made me emotional but also satisfied.

‘You have to grasp life by the balls,Grace,’ he says, ‘and don’t bloody let go until you have to.’

Overall, I would highly recommend it. This book was previously released under the title Goodbye Paris and I had no idea until I looked it up on Goodreads. The author has also included a Grace’s Listening List which lists two of my favorite symphonies which are Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango and Vivaldi : La Follia 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Author: Connect with Author Anstey Harris on Goodreads.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: 10 January 2019
  • Hardcover(ARC): 352 Pages

Let me know if you’re planning to read The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton or if you’re planning to read it. If you loved reading my review, let me know !

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