The Butcher's Hook
Written by Janet Ellis
Publication Date March 05, 2016
Anne Jaccob is coming of age in late eighteenth-century London, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When she is taken advantage of by her tutor — a great friend of her father’s — and is set up to marry a squeamish snob named Simeon Onions, she begins to realize just how powerless she is in Victorian society. Anne is watchful, cunning, and bored.
Her saviour appears in the form of Fub, the butcher’s boy. Their romance is both a great spur and an excitement. Anne knows she is doomed to a loveless marriage to Onions and she is determined to escape with Fub and be his mistress. But will Fub ultimately be her salvation or damnation? And how far will she go to get what she wants?
Dark and sweeping, The Butcher’s Hook is a richly textured debut featuring one of the most memorable characters in fiction.
JANET ELLIS is an English television presenter and actress, best known for the BBC’s Blue Peter and Jigsaw. She has also been a Costa prize judge and is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing School. The Butcher’s Hook is her first novel. She lives in London.
"Stunning writing from the opening page, this book is captivating, unpredictable and often blackly comic. Janet Ellis depicts not only eighteenth century London in wonderful detail but also the creation of a one-of-a-kind psychopath. This isn’t a cosy period book but one in which the author throws firecrackers at the reader." Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister, The Quality of Silence, and Afterwards
"Ellis has created something marvellous in the character of Anne Jaccob — her voice is strange, dark and utterly mesmeric. This is historical fiction as I've never encountered it before: full of viscera, snarling humour, and obsessive desire. I loved it." Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites
"Beautifully written; the voice is perfect. Every page had a line I wish I’d thought of myself." Erin Kelly, author of Broadchurch, The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, and The Ties that Bind
"The Butcher’s Hook is bewitching: Anne Jacob is a dark and dangerous heroine and her story is gripping and full of surprises. This is an exciting and hugely impressive debut from Janet Ellis." Antonia Hodgson, author of The Devil in the Marshalsea and The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins
"Anne is a heroine unlike any we’ve met before in historical fiction — prickly, amoral, opportunistic, determined to eke what happiness she can from life, even if it means spilling a bit of blood." Toronto Star
"…[Ellis] manages to keep up the interest as Anne’s love story turns into something much darker." Winnipeg Free Press
"…the dark, Gothic tale is not what you’d expect…" Metro
"The rush of this novel is its macabre sense of justice…[a] thrill…" Globe and Mail