The Newgate Jig

Written by Ann Featherstone

Set in the same era and very much in the same style as her earlier novel, Walking in Pimlico, which I reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed, The Newgate Jig is set in Victorian London and focuses on its seedy underbelly, which provides so much fascinating material to novelists.

The novel begins with a young boy, Barney, waiting in the crowd to watch his father, George Kevill, hang; the ‘Newgate Jig’ of the title, a public entertainment for the masses. The story is powered by Barney’s desire for revenge. In his quest he is assisted by the wonderfully realised character of Bob Chapman, with his adorable and talented performing dogs, Brutus and Nero. With a villain known as the ‘Nasty Man’, things get very dark indeed. Reminiscent of Sarah Waters in style and feel, and full of vibrant characters such as the aptly named Princess Tiny, this novel is so evocative of its time and the reader is easily immersed in the story. Very much recommended, as is the earlier novel.