Bookish Discussions

Things in Jars | Victorian Detective Story with Scientific Twist

I was *really* intrigued by this, patiently waiting for its paperback release, but it didn’t live up to my expectations…A7B98D09-579B-45B0-9B23-82ED52E1FEDC.jpg

London, 1863. A strange puzzle has reached Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age. To recover a stole child, Bridie must enter the dark world of medical curiosities. The public love a spectacle and this child may as well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

I knew Things in Jars was about the so-called “curiosities” of people – the title gives that away – but I thought it would focus on disfigurements or disabilities, as these would have been true curiosities to the Victorians. I didn’t expect the fantastical element to the story, where the curiosities are things that are not entirely possible.

All I’m trying to say is: I thought Things in Jars would be a fun exploration of the growing interest in and understanding of Victorian science. In a way, it was, as it shone light on a certain movement in science, but the impossible element to it made it seem a little…off.

It just didn’t have the right feel to it, y’know?

I can totally understand why Jess Kidd might not have wrote it this way – it brings up some ethical questions, which would have been her downfall if done incorrectly, but I just thought it would shed light on how Victorian science viewed people who were different. Real different. Not made-up different.

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Bookish Discussions

Bookish Favourites | Summer 2019:

2019 hasn’t been the best year for reading, so I have very little favourites when it comes to specific books. Nevertheless, that’s never stopped me. I’ve fallen in love with lots of bookish things recently, and I kindaaaa wanted to talk about them with you today, so let’s get into it!


Spending all day studying Victorian literature was fun in the beginning. Now, I dread it. I can’t pick up a Victorian classic without over-analysing it, or finding myself frustrated and a little bored. I haven’t fallen out of love with them, no, never, but I need a little break from them. So, I’ve substituted Victorian classics for neo-Victorian books. More specifically, murder mysteries.

I can’t get enough of them.

It started with Ambrose Perry’s The Way of All Flesh. It was *such* a GOOD book, following a doctor and a maid who team up to solve the mysterious murders of working-class women in Victorian Edinburgh. Ever since then, I’ve added His Bloody Project, The Wages of Sin and The Murder of Harriet Monckton to my shelves, with more sitting in my wish list. I can’t be stopped. I won’t be stopped. I need my Victorian fix.

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Bookish Discussions

The Wicked Cometh | A Lesbian Sherlock Holmes



Rating: 4 stars

Read: 16 February – 18 February 2019

This was a pleasant surprise.

In short, The Wicked Cometh is a lesbian detective story set in early 1830s London. People are randomly disappearing from the grimy streets of London, and no one can provide a rational explanation for it. Hester White, a poor working-class, who somehow finds her way into the middle-class Brock household, and Rebekah Brock decide to set things right, embarking on a quest to stop these murders.

It’s not often that I find a neo-Victorian novel that I genuinely love. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read, and I’m very picky about my Victorian settings, as authenticity is key to me, but Laura Carlin got it spot on. She captured everything, from etiquette to fashion, so perfectly. It was not necessarily Victorian in style; Carlin did not intimate Victorian writing, but focused more on characterisation and setting.

She managed to stay true to the Victorians whilst adding her own twist to their perception. That was, of course, the lesbian relationship. We all know how the Victorian felt about homosexuality (actually, as I’ve learnt from Ruth Goodman, lesbians were not even acknowledged by society), but Carlin made it seem so naturalIt wasn’t forced into the narrative. It was slowly introduced and worked so well within the dynamics of the London Carlin created.

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