A Daughter’s Promise

Written by Lynette Rees
Review by Sally Zigmond

1888. Jack the Ripper is at large. Like most local people, Kathryn Flynn, who lives in Whitechapel, London, has no time to think of him. She is not a prostitute, but would it be worth the risk? After all, she works all hours in the clothing trade to pay the rent to a wicked landlord, and buy coal and food for her bed-ridden widowed mother and her younger brothers and sisters. Her best friend is Jimmy. He loves her but finds work on a ship bound for Africa and back to earn money to win her back when she rejects his proposal of marriage. When her landlord demands even more rent and work dries up, there is one solution – prostitution. She gives it a try and fortunately for her, she meets a rich, kind and generous gentleman called Squire. But is he what he seems, and was she a fool to reject Jimmy? Has she stepped from the frying pan into the fire?

This is a Victorian saga with twists, turns and changes in fortune along the way. Many saga lovers will not mind the fact that the author’s vision of Victorian Whitechapel is somewhat skew-whiff. For instance, although Jack the Ripper was indeed at large in 1888, children were no longer sent up chimneys and the novelist Charles Dickens’ works, with their gangs of child pick-pockets, were set in earlier days. However, if you love Victorian sagas set in the smoggy streets of the East End, this page-turning novel with its happy ending is for you.