A January Book of the Month Pick "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 Once Upon a River "An impossible wonder: a book for everyone, and yet somehow a book just for you...A sumptuous tour of Victorian London, resurrected here with a vigor and vibrancy to rival The Crimson Petal and the White...Utterly magical."--A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window "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...Simply: Jess Kidd is so good it isn't fair." --Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation and Light from Other Stars 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.
- ISBN-13: 9781982121280
- ISBN-10: 1982121289
- Publisher: Atria Books
- Publish Date: February 2020
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Page Count: 384
Things in Jars
Fiction that transports us back to another time can, at its best, make us feel at home in an era into which we’ve never set foot. Unless, of course, the author doesn’t want us to feel at home. In the realm of great fantasy fiction set in a past we think we know, it’s often to a storyteller’s advantage to lure us in with a false sense of familiarity, only to reveal something else entirely.
With Things in Jars, Jess Kidd has woven a spellbinding alternate version of Victorian London that is both recognizable and like getting lost in some mist-shrouded parallel world only spoken of in myths. It is into this version of London, where tattooed ghosts lurk near their own gravestones and seven-foot-tall housekeepers spend their idle time reading potboiler fiction, that Kidd drops Bridie Devine, a private detective with such distinctive style and intense charisma that we fall in love with her immediately.
Jess Kidd’s Victorian London is both recognizable and like getting lost in some mist-shrouded parallel world only spoken of in myths.
When we meet her, Bridie is coming off a tough, failed case, but she’s got a new one on the horizon. The secret child of a wealthy man is missing, and the child may be much more than just a lost little girl. Armed with her own wits and accompanied by an unlikely spectral assistant, Bridie sets out to learn the truth about the child and along the way finds some ties to a past she tried to leave behind.
Equal parts historical thriller and fabulist phantasm, Things in Jars is instantly compelling, but what sets it apart is the prose. There’s a playful, lithe familiarity to it as Kidd dances across delightfully apt phrases like a master. Even as the novel sweeps you up in its narrative, it also sweeps you up in its sentence-by-sentence construction, making it both a whirlwind read and a novel you could happily get lost in for weeks, dissecting every paragraph.
Things in Jars is the kind of lavish, elegant genre treat that makes you wish Kidd would churn out a new Bridie Devine mystery every three years until the end of time.