Publisher: Atria Books
Date of publication: February 4th, 2020
Genre: General Fiction
In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.
Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.
Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.
Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.
As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful.Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
When I read the blurb for Things in Jars, I knew that I needed to read the book. A mystery set in Victorian England that had a paranormal/fantasy bent to it. Another thing going for this book is that I had read Himself by the author and loved it. So, yes, I was excited to read the book. I am glad that I did because Things in Jars were fantastic!!
Things in Jars had a great storyline. Bridie Devine is a female detective who takes on a case that she thinks will be easy. A 6-year-old girl has been kidnapped, and her father is frantic to get her back. But, as Bridie starts to investigate this story, she notices that things aren’t adding up. Then Bridie’s past collides with her present in a way that could derail her investigation. What is so special about that girl? Why are so many people after her? And what will happen when Bridie is forced to face her past?
The plotline for Things in Jars was lightning fast. That surprised me because when a book goes from past to present, there is always some lag. But not in this case. The author was able to keep up the pace of the plotline and seamlessly go from past to present. There are also no dropped characters or storylines. It made reading this book absolutely a joy!!
I am not a massive fan of when books got back and forth in time. But in this case, the author made it work. As Bridie investigated Christabel’s kidnapping, the author showed what it was like for Bridie growing up. It wasn’t pretty. There were parts of her childhood that made me want to hug her. The time spent in the Eames household, and what Gideon put her through was awful. But, it showed where she got her medical skills and how it shaped her into the woman she was in the present day.
The storyline with Christabel’s kidnapping was interesting. I liked it because I had to figure out if Christabel being a freak of nature was true or not. For a time, I did think that Christabel was an innocent child. But, then there was a crucial scene that involved snails and feet that changed my mind.
I liked that the author took the Irish myth of the Merrow and ran with it. I wasn’t familiar with that myth and spent some time reading about it after I finished the book. I loved it!!
I also loved how the author tied Bridie’s past and present together. There were a couple of people from her past that showed up, not including Ruby Doyle. I was surprised at how they were tied in.
I loved the paranormal angle of the book. I did feel that Ruby’s storyline was dragged on, and I did think, for a time, that his connection to Bridie was forgotten. But, it wasn’t, and the reveal was heartbreaking. I’ll admit, I cried.
The end of Things in Jars was nothing short of amazing. The author did a fantastic job of wrapping everything up. My heart broke a few times when reading the ending. I was wondering if there was going to be another book, but I don’t think so. If I’m wrong, that’s great. But the vibe I got was no.
I would give Things in Jars an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Things in Jars. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**