First Lines Friday #10

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

Hello, reader!

It’s ✨Friday✨ and I’m happy to share with you another First Lines Friday! Today, I’m bringing you something a little different from my norm. It’s a nonfiction book that I’ve been wanting to read for ages and finally picked up thanks to the lovely folks in the TWR book-club-that’s-not-a-book-club. Which is my favorite book club 😉 We’ve only just started at the beginning of May, but I’m absolutely loving the book, so far! It’s written in a fashion that doesn’t immediately bring to mind an old textbook, which I always appreciate in my nonfiction.

But enough of my rambling. Let’s see if you can guess which book I’m talking about from the first few lines and a hint or two!

The Line(s):

“The cylinders turned. The belts moved, and gears clicked and whirred, as type and ink pressed against paper. Floors rattled; lights burned at all hours. In some rooms, lengthy sheets of words hung from ceilings on drying racks; in other stood towers of wooden boxes filled with tiny pieces of metal type.”

The Hints:

This is a true crime book that focuses on the victims more than the crime.

The backdrop is Victorian London.

It has a numerical title.

The Reveal:

Click the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page

Goodreads Synopsis

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.”

Did those first few lines capture your attention? Did they make you want to read the rest of the story? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!