In an isolated manor on the outskirts of London in 1763, 19-year-old Anne Jaccob has reached the end of hope. What can come after but revenge?
British television presenter and debut novelist Ellis conjures a dark, grimy world rife with thwarted desires and relentless death. With a keen eye for tortured reasoning and twisted motivations, Ellis draws bewitchingly disturbed souls. Indeed, Anne is surrounded by characters who foster seeds of anger deep in her soul: her mother, exhausted by multiple, mostly fruitless pregnancies, has shown her the hopelessness of breeding. Her father, embittered at the loss of his only son, finds endless fault with everything from the meat on the table to Anne herself. Worse, he arranged for the leering Dr. Edwards to tutor the intelligent Anne. Yet Dr. Edwards breached that trust and quashed Anne’s natural curiosity about the world when he took her small, 9-year-old hand and opened his breeches. Together her unfortunate parents have selected the simpering, odious Simeon Onions to court her. Yet a chance encounter with Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, who’s more formally known as Frederick Warners, sparks new life within Anne. Soon she has not only forsaken social propriety to roam the streets in search of Fub but also tumbled headlong into a passionate affair with him. Ellis, however, masterfully tightens a web around Anne as the spiders of Dr. Edwards and Simeon Onions catch news of Anne and Fub’s affair, seeing opportunities for blackmail. To Anne’s further consternation, Fub himself disappoints her. They have all, of course, mistaken Anne for a malleable girl. She has become, instead, a venomous creature herself, a Georgian Fury, and the course of her revenge is delightfully horrific.
Cinderella turns the tables in this gruesome yet engrossing fairy tale that begs for a sequel.