Five Facts about The Whitechapel Virgin

by
Carla Acheson

  1. The book idea exploded with the Wikipedia discovery of ‘Harris List of Covent Garden Whores.’ A real 17th century publication which offered gentlemen a discreet listing of local ladies, their services offered as well as costs. There were a million story ideas in that one discovery alone.
  2. I don’t write historical fiction to teach people about history. I like teaching about people, no matter what era they lived in. My readers will walk away having learnt something interesting and amazing about ‘people’, and the best way to do that is to give them characters with the worst possible lives, where the odds are really stacked against them.
  3. My first ever published ‘piece’ was an article in a writers’ magazine. Ironically, it was entitled ‘How to cope with rejection’.
  4. I go for grit. There isn’t anything interesting in a wooden stick unless it has texture or emotion. Hell, just give a stick emotions rather than watch it sit there doing nothing! Why are they important in writing? Because they are the elements by which we frame our existence and self-awareness. Without feelings and emotions what are we doing? Well, we are either asleep, or not living.
  5. I live on a Rock in the Mediterranean sea, which is as far removed from Victorian London as you can get. For that reason I have to travel there for research, and strive harder to create the imaginary canvas which I weave into my stories. There is always a journey that astounds, not only the reader, but the writer as well. After finishing my first novel, ‛The Last Gift,’ I realised that the journey was so wonderful, I had to do it again.
Introducing…
 The Whitechapel Virgin
Catherine, a fifteen year old runaway, stumbles into a seedy brothel-house tavern in the back streets of Whitechapel, London. She hesitates at the scene before her, one filled with low class prostitutes and drunkards, but it is late, and the dimly-lit labyrinthine alleyways are filled with deviant fellows and petty criminals. 

Weary and hungry, she meets Eddie, the rugged young tavern boy who shows her to a room for the night. She settles down only to be awoken in the early hours by piercing cries from the room next door. Arising to find the cause of the commotion, she becomes witness to a gruesome abortion. 

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 Filled with revulsion, Catherine decides to flee as soon as daylight arrives, but Eddie quickly soothes her fears and convinces her to stay, arranging for her to meet Madame Davenport, the nefarious brothel-mistress who employs Catherine as a serving girl, under the proviso she begins work ‛servicing’ men once she is settled in. 

Difficulties arise, however, when Eddie’s growing romantic affections for Catherine clash with her sudden infatuation for the dashing middle-class gent, Mr Cross. Unknown to Catherine, the lothario is keeping a diary of his affairs with Whitechapel’s whores, with the dishonourable intention of turning his writing into a successful ‛gentleman’s, publication.’ Mr Cross quickly seduces the fresh young virgin, allowing his sexual fantasies to escalate into an unfathomable obsession. 
As Catherine tries her hardest to fit into the ways of life at the lodging house, she encounters only jealousy from Eddie, and resentment from the other prostitutes who reside there. Annie, in particular, dislikes the new girl who has blossoming beauty and youth on her side. 
Unexpectedly one night, a crime occurs within the narrow landing of George Yard Buildings. Local prostitute Martha Tabram is found brutally hacked to death by a cruel assailant. The police can unearth no explainable motive. The Victorian crime stuns the entire Whitechapel district, causing widespread panic amongst the prostitutes who each fear for their own lives. 
Catherine’s anxiety increases when Edward Cross begins to show signs of ‘odd’ sexual behaviour and mental decline, as he brutally tries to expunge the girl of her virtues. When two more gruesome murders occur in the area, the prostitutes realise that there is no escape from the vicious killer who calls himself Jack The Ripper. But who is he? And who will be the next Jack victim? 
 

Carla Acheson lives in Gibraltar with her family and is a member of the Freelance Writers Association. She works as a book reviewer and has interviewed and published book reviews and articles for best-selling and award-winning authors. Her articles and reviews have been featured in various press publications, as well as Waterstones Quarterly UK Magazine. 
Her debut fiction novel ‘The Last Gift’ released October 2012, is available on both Kindle and paperback. 
Carla is also the founder of the Rock Writers Group formed in Gibraltar in 2009. 
Music production, singing, reading and writing have always been the main essential ingredients in Carla’s life. 

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