As a fan of Jess’s writing I was thrilled to receive an early copy of her new novel, THINGS IN JARS, thanks Canongate. What a treat that was. Jess’s previous novels, HIMSELF and THE HOARDER are wonderful, highly recommended however with this, her third novel we have a gem of a story.
This historical novel is set in 1863 and features detective Bridie Devine. She has a new and puzzling case to solve when Christabel, the child of Sir Edmund Berwick is kidnapped. The challenge Bridie has is the Christabel is not supposed to exist! Detective Devine is also struggling following her most recent case which left her reputation in tatters. 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.
What I love about Jess’s writing is her brilliant characters who leap off the pages that draw you in from the first page. Jess writes stories that grip you from the moment you pick up the book and the storytelling is superb. Setting the novel in Victorian London is a change of direction for Jess and it is a testament to her wonderful writing that she does it seamlessly. The novel is rich with vivid descriptions giving you the feeling that you are walking through those foggy London streets.
This is as the publisher says, a truly enchanting Victorian detective novel that I adored reading and made me love Jess’s writing even more.