Set in Georgian England, The Butcher’s Hook is a dark, twisted and gripping love story.
Anne Jaccob is a joyless, macabre young woman, who believes the route to her happiness is a life with the local butcher’s apprentice, after she meets him at the back door of the family home thanks to her mother’s absence.
At first Anne appears childish and naïve, but we soon learn that she isn’t afraid to get blood on her hands. Anne’s upbringing was dark, loveless and lonely, and with neither a friend or moral compass in sight, Anne sets out to get her man. Along the way she sabotages Mr. Onions, the suitor that her Father had in mind, as well as getting rid of everyone else that stood between her and Fub.
Ellis’ writing is haunting, atmospheric and almost gothic; you could taste the iron and smell the bloody meat as Anne enters the butcher’s quarters. She relishes the darkness, taking enjoyment in butchering an animal.
A mesmeric debut novel, I hope Ellis turns her hand to some more historical fiction as she certainly has a talent for it. I could imagine this being turned into a period TV drama.
I also have to give a shout-out for the cover of the hardback edition as I think it’s one of the most amazing covers I’ve seen, with stunning gold foil detailing.
Give it a go if you enjoyed: The North Water or The Miniaturist
Author: Janet Ellis
Published by: Two Roads
Hardback and Paperback: 368 pages