Book Review: The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

“When a woman steps out of line and contravenes the feminine norm, whether on social media or on the Victorian street, there is a tacit understanding that someone must put her back in her place.”

Published in 2020, The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a non-fiction account of Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, who are famous for the same thing. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

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