ARC Review Book Review

ARC Book Review: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Title: Things in Jars
Author: Jess Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy
Published On: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Ebook
Pages: 384

Synopsis: 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 Jarsis 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.

My thoughts

Things in Jars is very well-written. Maybe too well-written for me. I found myself often lost in the language. Although I did highlight many beautiful lines. I read this novel–that demands the reader’s full attention–at a time when I should have been reading something lighter. I also had a hard time keeping the myriad of characters straight, especially with the two timelines. I did enjoy the characters of Bridie, Ruby, and Cora. But I wanted more of them. 

Things in Jars is about the mysterious disappearance of a little girl named Christabel and Bridie’s search for her. Bridie definitely brings to mind a female Sherlock Holmes, especially with the setting of Victorian London, but the bits of romance were my favorite parts. I found myself not so interested in the mystery of Christabel, only continuing to read for the resolution to Bridie’s love life.

Most reviewers are loving this one, so I know I’m in the minority. I’m thrilled it’s getting such well-deserved reviews. I expected to love this one, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t. 

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me an advance copy through Netgalley.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Have you read Things in Jars? Or is it on your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd”

    1. I’m not sure I’d call it a psychological thriller… The point of view is mostly from the heroine, but there are definitely disturbing situations. There were also light and funny moments, as well. It’s a book that’s hard to pin down! 😉

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