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The Butcher's Hook


Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.

At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher's apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him. The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, and the baby brother who taught her to love is dead. Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation. Even if it means getting a little blood on her hands.

'Do you know what this is?' He holds a short twist of thick metal, in the shape of the letter 'S', sharpened at both ends. I shake my head. 'A butcher's hook,' he says, testing the tip of his finger against each point. 'A perfect design. Whichever way up you use it, it's always ready. One end to hook, the other to hang. It has only one simple purpose.' He stands on a stool and fixes it over the bar above him. It waits there, empty. He climbs down. 'Pleasing, isn't it?'

I was drinking.....

An old English ale

In my opinion.....

Anne Jaccob is not a particularly likeable heroine, but she is fascinating and her observations are sharp and witty. I found the book a little difficult to get into, to begin with, but by the end with its twists and turns I was totally hooked, and didn’t want to put it down

I do not tend to read novels written by celebrities, but Janet Ellis has a fantastic eye for detail & her vivid descriptions of the sights, smells & feel of Anne’s world, whether underfoot or in her hands, brought her to life, often in a quite repulsive way. Anne is not an easy heroine to befriend, but I had a certain sympathy in why she behaved as she did & I sense that Ellis became more & more involved with her as the story progressed. Indeed there is a proper story & right up to the final page, there can be no assumptions about what will happen next....

Thank you for giving me a review copy, prior to publication in February 2016

My rating......

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