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The Butcher's Hook

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  2,180 ratings  ·  381 reviews
London, summer 1763.

At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher's apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him. The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, a
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Pegasus Books (first published March 5th 2016)
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George Look again. As of 6/2/2017 it's available from Amazon in Kindle, hardback, paperback, and Audible.
Ben Babcock Good catch! I just read the ARC of this and the back cover copy says "just how powerless she is in Georgian society," so it looks like someone caught…moreGood catch! I just read the ARC of this and the back cover copy says "just how powerless she is in Georgian society," so it looks like someone caught it well before it went to press. I've change the Goodreads description to match.

I thought the historical accuracy was all right. In general it feels rather generic "historical London," but Anne's behaviour and the social norms definitely feel Georgian rather than Victorian. There's a shoutout to the Jacobite rebellion in the form of an impoverished Scotsman whom Anne encounters.(less)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,180 ratings  ·  381 reviews

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Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How does one become a psychopath? Is it nature or nurture? Anne Jaccob's life journey was bumpy. Her idyllic family life changed when her three year old brother died. She felt empty, devoid of feelings. Perhaps her depressed state occurred when her father stated that Anne and her mother were not enough. He needed a son. His overly critical comments were hard to bear. Anne's fragile mother had been worn down by numerous miscarriages. Finally, a baby girl was born but was taking up time formerly s ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly one of the better books I've read this year. I didn't know what to expect from "The Butcher's Hook"; what got me interested in it was all the praise it has received and then that gorgeous cover!
This novel combines the beautiful with the macabre. It takes place in London in the 1700s, and the protagonist Anne is a small girl of about 14 who tells her own story. Because of this narrator, the story is very easy to follow, however as things progress we realize that Anne is not you
Miriam Smith
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember the last time I read a story set in the mid 1700's and a one that captured the era so perfectly. I was very impressed with Janet Ellis' debut novel "The Butcher's Hook", she writes of the Georgian era with such immense descriptive detail, you literally step back in time with perfect clarity and vividness.
It did take me a little time to adjust to the writing style that befitted the 1700's and some of the scenes were quite explicit but generally this is a fabulous gothic style no
If you wish to read a historical-fiction novel with a wicked main character, look not further. The Butcher’s Hook tells a story that is delightfully twisted and wrong, but so very engaging.

Anne Jacobs is a 19-year-old girl coming from a well-off family, but who lives in a very oppressive household. Her father is an unsympathetic man and wishes she’d rather be born a boy, and her mother is a meek, absent woman who suffered through a series of miscarriages. Having no friends or any form of distractin
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued to read this debut historical novel by Janet Ellis, set in 1763 London. Anne Jacob is a young lady of nineteen when we meet her; living an isolated life with her distant father and a careworn mother, who has experienced a ‘string of small deaths’ in her desire to give her husband the son he craves. When we begin this novel, Anne’s mother has just given birth to a daughter. This is to be celebrated, as the baby lives, but it soon becomes obvious that the members of the household – ...more
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fab read. A dark quirky historical novel which had me hooked by the writing, the plot and the main character Anne. Was swiftly lost in it and hooked (pun intended) until the end.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I wouldn't pick up historical fiction (although I've been doing way more of that this year), but The Butcher's Hook is a historical fiction novel for those of us with darker, seedier tastes. Set in the Georgian era, as opposed to the more commonly written-about Victorian period, we are greeted with a dirtier, less refined picture of London where even the upper-class aren't as respectable as they would have us believe.

The Butcher's Hook follows 19 year old Anne Jacob, a girl who comes fro/>The
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2017
One of my favorite reads of the year.
Amy | shoutame
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
A gritty and gruesome novel that had me completely gripped from the offset.

Set in Victorian London, we follow young Anne Jaccob as she defies the wishes of her family; they have arranged a marriage for her but Anne can't think of anything worse than being the wife of Simeon Onions. This arrangement becomes more of a struggle as Anne discovers she is falling for the butchers boy, Fub. Obsessed with the idea of leaving her home and running away with Fub, Anne finds herself in some very
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Every girl hopes to find love and situation neatly bundled. It is hardly ever so.’ No truer word spoken. If only Anne had paid attention...

Fantastic read! Loved it. What a delicious main character Anne is and how refreshing to have a hormonal teenager, needy and unbalanced as the central figure of the story.. I really felt for and with her for much of the story and then the reader becomes slightly uneasy....I won't say more: find out for yourself!
Well, this was just deliciously wicked

If I had to describe The Butcher's Hook's writing style in one word, I'd choose sharp. Ellis's writing immediately feels very measured, like she's carefully considered what she wants to convey and precisely how she wants to convey it. And word by word, Ellis creates the acerbic, fierce, and starkly present protagonist that is Anne. And boy did I love being inside Anne's head. As twisted as her thoughts could sometimes (always) be, they always made a strange kind of sense. And as a read/>If
Great debut! My favorite part is the writing itself. I am also a huge fan of historical fiction, especially when it takes place in England. The time is 1763 and Anna, our MC, is coming of age. Nothing light and fluffy about this tale though. This is dark, gritty and sometimes gross. This was almost a five star read for me, but some Anna's antics are a little OTT. Never the less, an awesome read and I look forward to what this author writes next.
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheila O'Flanagan
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I missed the hype around this book as perhaps I would've been expecting something different otherwise! It's definitely a macabre tale, telling the story of Anne, a young, girl in Georgian London. Naturally her parents (particularly her father) want to marry her off to someone they consider suitable. She has other ideas. I liked Anne who was feisty and determined and who had ambivalent feelings towards her newborn sister as well as her own mother, while resenting her father and his infl ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Janet Ellis' debut novel is a bawdy coming of age tale set in Georgian London. Our protagonist, Anne Jaccob, is the eldest daughter of a middle-class family, whose boorish father seems intent on marrying her off to the wealthiest suitor. Far removed from Jane Austen's world of rural gentility, Anne hopes to flee her father's tyranny by seeking romance with Fub, the butcher's boy. Thus she enters the dark and violent underbelly of Georgian London with all its sights and smells being vividly prese ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realized all of a sudden that I never reviewed this.

I don't really have too too much to say. It follows a girl in 1763 England born to a well off family who falls in love with the butcher's apprentice. It started out pretty boring, just a lot of day to day life, not that I minded that. But once the romance started it escalated really quickly into something I was completely not expecting. This book was WILD at the end and I actually ended up really really enjoying where it went.

Aj Sterkel
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Brace yourselves.

I read a romance book.

And I liked it.

Of course, it’s a twisted, disturbing romance with a main character who murders her romantic rivals, but that’s a small detail. I’m still counting this as a romance.

Anne Jaccob is a nineteen-year-old woman living in London in the mid-1700s. She’s an upper-class lady who’s used to getting whatever she wants. Her parents have money, and Anne has servants to take care of her every whim. She’s very
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about life in 18th century England and America. One constantly recurring thought I've been having is how even for the upper classes it must still have been a muddy, odorous, and dark existence, for the lack of modern medicine, indoor plumbing and electric lighting. I look for dirty fingernails when I watch costume dramas, and think about the hint of sourness underneath all the powder, wigs, and fine clothes. I'm fascinated by the time as a transition peri ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: september-2018
Of former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis' debut novel, Hannah Kent writes: '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, snorting humour and obsessive desire.'  Other reviews which pepper the cover and the first page of The Butcher's Hook describe it variously as 'bewitching', 'dark, shocking and funny', and 'terrific.'  I was therefor ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
I very nearly DNF'd this. But I'm glad that I didn't. I wasn't expecting the dark twisted journey this book took me on. I'm on a bit of a historical fiction kick at the moment and this satisfied it and then some.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I really enjoyed this debut offering from Janet Ellis (of Blue Peter fame) I heard quite a loud buzz about this, as one of THE books to read in 2016 and spotted it on a few favourite lists, so I was eager to read it before it becomes over hyped.

I was hoping it would completely blow my socks off and it did captivate and entertain me to a large degree. None of the characters are very likeable, they are all just a teeny bit larger than life, charicatured with an almost Dickensian tongue
Noelia Alonso
I've been so tempted to give this book 1 star. Is it bad? No. It is average. Objectively, if things had been different, I would've given it 3 stars. I had a massive problem with it though: I HATED THE MAIN CHARACTER. HATED HER WITH A PASSION. I haven't felt that way about any character in a while. She tries to make you empathise with her because her father is going to marry her to a man she doesn't love (how original in Georgian London) but in reality Anne is one vicious, heartless bitch.
Renita D'Silva
Beautifully written and very atmospheric
Jun 10, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What an anachronistic load of attempted shock and horror. There is a genuine delight in reading a novel with an anti-hero at its centre; what a shame then that this novel gives us an anti-heroine with absolutely no interest or appeal. It's 1753 and Anne is depressed and isolated in a grim household still mourning the death of a treasured young son, her only (temporarily) surviving sibling. Her trauma over his loss leads her on a path of destruction that includes a surprisingly liberated attitude ...more
Acacia Ives
I got this book at 5 pm ... 6 hours later done! Oh my gosh I'm blown away and truly in love this book was amazing wonderful, strong willed and stunning! I fell in love with the writing and the story. I cried and felt dread and happiness.I began and ended this world in 6 hours and already want to back inside it!

Thank you Amanda
Colleen Fauchelle
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This was a hard book to rate. Do I give it a 2 star because it took a lot to get into the story or do I give it a 4 star because the main character was so warped in her thinking and so horrible in her actions that I found her fascinating. As you see 4 stars won. Strange because it is a book I will not be reading again.
After I read the book I had a close look at the pictures on the cover and they are cleaver because they are showing you some of the main things that happen in the story. I liked t
She Writes
The Butcher's Hook, written in first person, follows the slow (and eventually somewhat predictable) descent of the novel's narrator, Anne, who lives at home with her parents, into increasingly disturbing perceptions of those around her. Janet Ellis, the author, explores illusion, delusion, and wild imagination in the character of Anne. Although the setting is the eighteenth-century, the protagonist is far from what a reader might anticipate in a female character set in this time period. Anne is the p ...more
Erica Mangin
Such great writing. I loved how the metaphors got grosser and darker as the novel progressed. Quite a unique story too - I've not read anything quite like it before. Highly recommend. Similar dark content to the novel Perfume although I think this story is much more interesting and fun.
Julia Evans
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a dream. It is all I could ever ask for and the cover quaintly matches my drink bottle - it was like living an Instagram flat lay.

Loved the messed up, psychopathic MC but What a mess.
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Janet Ellis trained as an actress at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She is best known for presenting Blue Peter and contributes to numerous radio and TV programmes.

A graduate of the Curtis Brown creative writing course, The Butcher’s Hook is her first novel, and she is currently working on her next.

In 2016 Janet was awarded an MBE for services to charities and theatre.
“To my mind, we carry all that we need to survive, indeed to live well, in our heads and our hearts from birth. We must decide our own paths accordingly and individually. There is precious little other instruction available.” 2 likes
“Hearing him speak is like stepping barefoot on a slug.” 0 likes
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