Book Reviews

Surgeons’ Hall by E.S. Thomson

Released March 2019
Publisher: Constable (an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group)
Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5

An extremely dark and atmospheric novel that evokes the same sense of macabre as the grisly Jack the Ripper killings.

The setting was incredible: the gruesome beginnings of surgery and dissection amidst gritty Victorian London during the Great Exhibition. Our main character, the apothecary Jem Flockhart, is a woman who has posed her entire life as a man and moves about her social and professional circles undetected. After a casual visit to the Crystal Palace where she stumbles upon a shocking discovery, she is swept up in a grotesque murder that leads her down a path filled with even more horrifying secrets.


The book was delightfully ghastly and definitely not for the weak of heart. The author perfectly captured this period of history and filled Jem’s dark, gory world with a wonderful set of characters, namely the enigmatic Crowe sisters. Jem was very compelling as well.

Since I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, I’m not sure I identified as much with some of the supporting characters I suspect I was meant to be familiar with. At times not having read the other books did make me feel like I was at a disadvantage which is why I’m probably one of the few readers to rate this less than 5 stars.

I also wish more of the book had taken place at the Great Exhibition. It’s such a fascinating event in British history that has lent itself to many fantastical stories. So what a disappointment that it didn’t really feature much within this book.


I really liked this dark and devilish read. It’s gory, but fun too. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, but make sure you’ve eaten your lunch first.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s