Author: Laura Purcell
Genre: Mystery thriller
Format: Hardcover 416 pages
Release Date: 20 September 2018
Publisher: Raven Books
My Rating: *****
I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read along via The Pigeonhole. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Pigeonhole, the concept is you pick a book from the many they have on offer and then you read along with other readers in bite-sized instalments called staves. A stave is uploaded each day and the readers have the opportunity to highlight text and make comments and ask questions to the author. This was my first read using The Pigeonhole and I throughly enjoyed it and I am already signed up for my next read in September.
Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?
Dorothea and Ruth.
Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless.
Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.
When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.
The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.
Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?
You can order your copy of ‘The Corset’ on Amazon at:
First of all, I love books set in the Victorian era. It was such a dark and twisted time where the notion of human rights is very much a thing still far far in the future. Anything goes in this period of history, hangings in the town square were a common occurrence and something which the towns people gathered to watch.
This book encompasses all the dark, gothic, feelings of this era in the most perfect way. Told as a narrative from the point of view of Ruth and Dorothea, we see two completely different social class systems.
Dorothea comes from a well respected upper class background but after suffering the loss of her mother at a young age decided that she didn’t want to just merely sit back and live the high society life. She becomes interested in the pseudo-science of phrenology and how the various lumps and bumps on a persons head could indicate their propensity to kill. Her interest in this area leads her to visit prisons to conduct research on inmates.
Dorothea is a really likeable character. I loved the fact that she was carving her own place in the world and not merely listening to her father’s pleas to settle down and marry. She has a thirst for knowledge and at any cost is prepared to pursue her own goals and dreams. I think we could all learn a little something from Dorothea in this regard.
Dorothea meets Ruth whilst on a visit to a prison and is instantly fascinated by her and her story. Over the course of the book Ruth digresses and reveals her past’s secrets to Dorothea with the two of them forming an unlikely friendship based on what I perceived to be an underlying mutual respect. Ruth in no way has had an easy life and my heart really went out to her and how she has suffered.
I absolutely adored the authors descriptive writing prose. She has a beautiful way of drawing you into the scene and making you hang on every word written. This is the only downside to reading a book via The Pigeonhole, in that you can only read to the end of the stave and then have to wait for the next instalment – I was racing through the staves wishing that the next was ready and waiting for me!
The biggest question that needs answering throughout the book is if Ruth is actually a killer or not! There are some fabulous twists in this story and it all wove together so brilliantly to leave us with the finished article.
I enjoyed the authors writing style so much I went straight out and bought ‘The Silent Companions’, the authors first novel for Raven Books. I can’t wait to give this book a read also and i’m extremely excited to see what she brings us next. I literally can’t recommend this book enough. This will be one of those books I will be talking about for a while.
About the Author
Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs.
Her first novel for Raven Books THE SILENT COMPANIONS won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. It will be followed by THE CORSET in September 2018.
For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks