The BookBrowse Review

Published January 22, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

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Editor's Introduction
Reviews
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First Impressions
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Book Jacket

Things in Jars
by Jess Kidd
4 Feb 2020
384 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN-13: 9781982121280
Genre: Historical Fiction
Critics:
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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.

"Kidd is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series. Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Kidd has created a captivating cast of characters and delivers a richly woven tapestry of fantasy, folklore, and history...Recommend to fans of Ruth Hogan's The Keeper of Lost Things (2017) and Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent (2017)." - Booklist (starred review)

"This pacy piece of Victorian crime fiction delivers chills galore." - The Guardian

"This unusual Victorian detective tale is hugely satisfying and beautifully written." - The Times (UK)

"Miraculous and thrilling...A few pages in and I was determined to read every word Jess Kidd has ever written. " - Diane Setterfield, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale and Once Upon a River

"A perfect mix of hilarity, the macabre, and a touch of romance, Things in Jars is ridiculously entertaining, all as it sneaks up and makes you feel things. Would that more books had such daring. The language is perfection. Simply: Jess Kidd is so good it isn't fair." - Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation and Light from Other Stars

"Things in Jars is an extraordinary tale full of dark magic, wicked humour, and hugely entertaining characters all of whom are beautifully drawn. An absolute treat!." - Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things

Jess Kidd is an award-winning author with a PhD in creative writing from St. Mary's University in London. She grew up as part of a large family from Ireland's County Mayo and now lives in London with her daughter. Her first book, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.

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