In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable suffering. Ever-present in its streets are rats, parasites, filth, death, decay, danger and sorrow. Catherine Eddowes is found murdered gruesomely in the street. When the police make their report, the only indicators of her life are the possessions carried on her person, likely everything she owned in the world. In Of Thimble and Threat, Alan M. Clark tells the heartbreaking story of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, explaining the origin and acquisition of the items found with her at the time of her death, chronicling her life from childhood to adulthood, motherhood, her descent into alcoholism, and finally her death. Of Thimble and Threat is a story of the intense love between a mother and a child, a story of poverty and loss, fierce independence, and unconquerable will. It is the devastating portrayal of a self-perpetuated descent into Hell, a lucid view into the darkest parts of the human heart.
©2011 Alan M. Clark (P)2015 Alan M. Clark
Say something about yourself!
This elegant and moving little novel takes its inspiration from the personal effects found on the body of Catherine Eddowes after her murder during the Autumn of Terror in 1888. Eddowes apparently carried all that she owned in the world with her, and Alan M. Clark extrapolates a life story from these items. The result is a powerful and well-researched meditation on the conditions faced by women in the East End of London during the late Victorian period.
This is not a novel about Jack the Ripper or about Eddowes's death (which is covered in a few brief paragraphs); it is a tragic and compelling tale about a woman's life. Its sensitive story puts a human face on both the so-called People of the Abyss and a victim of the Whitechapel murders.
Alicia Rose's narration fits the feel of the novel very well.
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