"The Five" goes into the background of the canonical five Jack The Ripper victims: Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. Mary Jane Kelly was a prostitute, until she found a partner to form a long-term relationship with, but then he ran out of money and she had to go back. Elizabeth Stride was sent off as a teen to be a domestic servant and became pregnant out of wedlock, which police assumed must be her fault and she must be a prostitute. There isn't evidence linking the other women to prostitution, unless you use a very lose interpretation of the word, applying the label to a woman who has sex with a man who she can split rent with.
I would describe them as homeless women, that is the one thing that the first four had in common. They were sleeping on the streets. The murderer did not have sex with them, they did not scream out, there were not signs of struggles, they were just asleep. The book doesn't go into the murders themselves. Each life just ends, after all the struggles and broken relationships and family disappointments.
The author's goal is to dispel the myths and give voice to these victims by telling their stories. A lot of it is written in a tone of "she would have..." based on research done on the areas, traditions, and news of the times they lived. it explains a great deal about life in the time period, and will make you feel lucky to have a better life. But it might also make you think about the choices we still give to the working poor. When are we really helping, when are we more interested in judging, and how can we actually help them improve their lives? Or do we just write them off, like it feels like the world did with these women?