Victorian Murderesses

Rating 3.5/5

So this is the first nonfiction book I've done since I started doing my reviews and I was not disappointed. This book is set to release in December so if you know anyone who loves history or true crime then consider giving this one as a gift.

Blake's book examines seven different women who were found to have committed murder, suspected of murder, or charged with murder in the Victorian Era and of the bunch I was only familiar with Lizzie Borden. So I really learned a lot reading this book and that was awesome.

I enjoyed that Blake's book looked at a diverse grouping of women as they had different social classes and even different personal backgrounds. At first I was concerned that this was only going to be a book examining women who had murdered their children but once you get past the first two chapters the crimes become more varied and in some cases more heinous.

Blake's book differently reads like a true crime documentary (think Forensic Files or Snapped) which I loved because I think it made it a faster read. Throughout the book Blake often provides insight and context into the period and circumstances which could provide for some perspective about the women and help in figuring out their motives for committing their crimes. However, I found that I wanted to know more about the gender dynamics of the period and how this played into the women being charged and sentenced. Occasionally Blake provides some of this information but it is rare.

For me Blake's book was great at detailing these women and she used her primary sources in an excellent manner, although, and maybe this was just a formatting issue on my device, sometimes it was hard to tell when she was done utilizing a source and switching back to her narration of the events. Throughout Blake provides some tidbits about women and crime but she never really delves into these matters. The book lacked an introduction to inform the reader exactly what she would be examining. Blake basically jumped into the first case with no preamble, which is why I think it had a true crime tv show feel. Blake also didn't really conclude anything. The book just stops with the end of the last case without delving into any of the issues or questions that are raised regarding gender dynamics and crime.

Despite all of this the book is still a fairly quick read that provides remarkable details about these women and their crimes. I enjoyed reading about cases that I had never heard of and enjoyed that it almost felt like I was watching a true crime show. I recommend adding this to your list if you are a history or true crime buff.

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