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The Butcher's Hook

by Janet Ellis

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Butcher's Hook

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016.

Our first-person narrator, Anne Jaccobs, is an extraordinary young woman for her period. This is Georgian London in 1763 and she a lady eager to learn. When her tutor oversteps the mark she diverts and becomes infatuated with Fub, the butcher’s boy. Her well-to-do family have plans for her but 19-year old Anne is an interesting, forceful character. In a novel rich in period detail we follow this spirited girl through some highly unexpected scenarios which two-thirds of the way through the book turn into a bawdy romp. At times dark, at times humorous, this is an historical novel not to be missed, a debut from the much-loved Blue Peter presenter. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Sarah Broadhurst

The Butcher's Hook Synopsis

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763. At nineteen, Anne Jaccob, the elder daughter of well-to-do parents, meets Fub the butcher's apprentice and is awakened to the possibilities of joy and passion. Anne lives a sheltered life: her home is a miserable place and her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub. But Anne is an unusual young woman and is determined to pursue her own happiness in her own way...even if that means getting a little blood on her hands.

The Butcher's Hook Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Melanie Kane - 'I found this to be quite a dark psychological novel that I could and then couldn't predict...I was blown away by this title and still unsure if it was in a good or bad way.'
  • Vicky-Leigh Sayer - 'The Butcher's Hook is a rare glimpse into the darker side of Georgian London. An exquisite debut novel with memorable characters that left me wanting more.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'This book really surprised me! I had no idea it was going to go in the direction that it went at the end. So good!'.
  • Catherine Bryce - A thrilling dark historical novel that has your complete attention from the beginning to end.'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'This is a gripping story, very relevant for society today but told from a very different perspective. Highly recommended read.'
  • Doreen McKeown - 'a dark story, although the prose is amusing in places, and the writing style, although of the age, is very readable. This is an impressive first novel - I look forward to more.'
  • Helen Skinner - 'Unusual and imaginative...a dark and twisted tale of Georgian London! This is an impressive debut novel and I'll look forward to more from Janet Ellis!'
  • Carrie Johnson - 'Anne Jaccob is not a particularly likeable heroine, but she is fascinating and her observations are sharp and witty...by the end with its twists & turns I was hooked, and didn’t want to put it down.' 
  • Jane Macleod - 'If you like great characterisation, emotion, and a slice of historical drama then you will enjoy this book.'
  • Annie Day - 'An atmospheric tale of love, lust and violence in Georgian London...an enjoyable and memorable book...It is a dark tale, however, and not for the faint hearted!'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Took me a while to get into this – didn’t engage with the central character initially.  But so glad I kept going as it became a most unexpected thriller.'
  • Beth Winsor - 'A really surprising tale, with an unusual heroine! I was riveted by this startling coming of age tale and couldn't wait to find out where she ended up.'

The Butcher's Hook Press Reviews

'The Butcher's Hook doesn't read like a first novel - it is a high-finish performance. Its heroine is an 18th-century teenage girl, who starts demurely although her sex drive turns out to be anything but demure. You need to be braced for violence to rival any Jacobean tragedy: The Butcher's Hook will hook you.' Observer (New Faces of Fiction)

'This author remains one to watch. She has a sharp eye and a sharper wit. More importantly still, she possesses a subtle and compassionate understanding of the human heart' Guardian

'Ellis has a public personality of great charm, and a good deal of this gets into her writing... she revels in the historical details, has a grasp of pace and knows how to keep her audience hooked' The Times

'A strange, unsettling story' The Sunday Times

'This is a dark, weird, gloriously feminist story of a girl in 1763 pushing against the limits of her role and a dark love story.' Elle UK (Best New Books for 2016)

'A story of dispassionate, bloody brilliance rich in believable period detail' Metro

'Actress and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis has created a surprising blend of psychological thriller and revenge tragedy in her debut novel... In Vanity Fair, Thackeray demonstrated how society determines character, and this suggestion underlies Ellis's robust and textured vision of the Georgian mindset. But from it emerges an unsettling portrait of a deeply damaged individual whose capacity for creating mayhem is timeless' Daily Mail

'A gripping girl-power story' Sun

'Ellis weaves her tale with deft skill, striking imagery and a boldness rare in a first novel' Mail on Sunday

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781473625150
Publication date: 06/10/2016
Publisher: Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781473625112
Publication date: 25/02/2016
Publisher: Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781473625150
Publication date: 6th October 2016
Author: Janet Ellis
Publisher: Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories: Historical mysteries,

About Janet Ellis

Janet Ellis trained as an actress at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She is best known for presenting Blue Peter and contributes to numerous radio and TV programmes. She recently graduated from the Curtis Brown creative writing school. The Butcher's Hook is her first novel.   Photo credit: Leigh Quinell

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