A rebellious young woman of high station finds her calling—and much more—volunteering in an East London hospital just as the Jack the Ripper murders commence.
Abbie Sharp, newly orphaned, finds herself chafing under the restrictions imposed by her snooty grandmother, who threw her mother out years before for her wild ways. Grandmother's attempt to teach Abbie responsibility by making her work at the charity hospital backfires when the girl becomes increasingly interested in the welfare of its prostitute patients. Abbie, meanwhile, finds herself more reliant on the street-fighting skills she picked up in Dublin than she ever expected. And she's also having visions… What could they mean? Narrator Abbie is a boilerplate spunky heroine, and she falls into an equally formulaic romance with a prickly-but-deep handsome physician. Debut author Reeves holds a PhD in 19th-century British literature, and she brings her research to bear on the background story. She appears to have decided not to apply it to her prose, however, which is littered with colloquially modern constructions ("I am simply going to have to be all right with…"; "[it] was fine with me"). Abbie performs astonishing feats of athleticism without ever being hampered by her skirt. Moreover, the paranormal twist feels wrenched into place. For more effective reboots of the Jack the Ripper legend, try Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star (2011) or Stefan Petrucha's Ripper (2012).
Skip. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12 & up)