Well written but underwhelming.
I first chapter just didn’t really grab me. I moan about this constantly on inkitt. People just plonk a first chapter down and then move on to the next one, but the first chapter is really the most important. It’s like a summary of everything to follow. It has to be linked to the overall plot somehow and it’s the first step into this greater world, so stuff, a significant amount of stuff needs to happen or if it’s even very little it has to be pretty powerful. I mean what really happens in the first chapter? A butcher saves a little girl from being maimed and then gets criticized by passers-by. And although I expect their distaste for him to be a theme I doubt it ties to the main plot at all. So really this incident is irrelevant as a starting point.
I get you probably want to ease into it and I usually like pieces like this and reading this encouraged me to get out my copy of Hound of the Baskervilles. And even in that, a flowery period piece published over a hundred years ago the first chapter gets to the point. They’re not talking about the Hound but they’re talking around it, building up to it. but it’s clear that its building to something and then the next chapter is called ‘The curse of the Baskervilles’. We have none of that here, it’s just one scene with no foreshadowing or hints of an overarching plot at all.
I think this entire chapter could have served better as just a flashback or a story relayed by the girl at a later date and you could have started further on in the story to start at a more relevant point. Giving the main character a little more mystery. You hinted vaguely at a tragedy backstory, so I expect he had a wife and child that died and thus builds a connection with the little girl over the course of the book. As it stands now it’s sort of throw away.
It’s well written, I like the period style although there are some typos and errors. It needs a good proof read because these obviously slipped through spellcheck. I have to say I cringed at some of it because it just seems like it’s trying too hard to be period even in the non-diegetic stuff and it’s kind of unnecessary when it could be done better. When I read a modern period piece I expect to be hit in the face with the research involved rather than just flowery language and period accents. I want to be shown more than I’m told. It was easier for Conan-Doyle because he was obviously immersed in it. But it’s not really an excuse, what in this story really justifies a period setting? You could take that entire chapter and just change the carriage to a car and it would be no different.
Overall, it’s very serviceable if a little cliché, I save my harshest criticism for the work I think has potential. I like the title, I like the premise, the style is good but frankly your first chapter is boring. The skill is there but the hook is not.
I hoped this helped, I wish you the best of luck with it.