The Corset by Laura Purcell
WOW - brilliant, loved every word of this ravishing historical thriller.
I do wish I hadn't read this book!! Only because I'm pretty darned certain it's going to such a hard act to follow that I'm going to find each and every new book I pick up for months, lacking in comparison and I'm saddened and green with envy that everyone who is yet to read this, still has it's delights to look forward to.
The description had me chomping at the bit, the cover had me swooning and I KNEW without doubt that it was my kind of book to a T. Yet still I didn't know what absolute reading PERFECTION this completely spectacular book was going to be.
Reminding me very much of two of my all time favourite reads Affinity and The Observations I am almost lost for words, to describe my feelings adequately after reading this.
It is a historical twisty mystery which is deviously dark and devilishly delectable. Featuring two very different young women. Dorothea Truelove is a well off young lady who wishes to do good works, has an interest in reading the shape of the head, phrenology and in particular observing the characteristics displayed by criminals. She resists her fathers attempts to marry her off, wishing to choose her own suitor, though this is not an option of the well to do Victorian female.
Her choice of good works is to be a prison visitor in Oakgate womens prison, where she soon becomes intrigued and involved with the young murderess Ruth Butterham who is charged with murdering her employer. A talented seamstress, with self taught skills she hones creating herself a corset from scraps of left over fabric, Ruth falls on very hard times as a series of dreadful personal disasters leads her to believe she can cause death by sewing hatred and ill will into the garments she works on.
With her talent with a needle being the only way she can earn a living she ends up apprenticed to the vile and Dickensian sweat shop of the Metyard familys dressmaking business.
What follows is a life of drudgery which is revealed stitch by intricate stitch, as she slaves for the Metyards, crosses paths with the vile Captain, makes a friend in Mim and encounters the handsome Billy. The lives of these two women entwine as each struggles against the whims of others and the restrictions placed on women in this era.
Their are dastardly deeds aplenty, the writing is sheer poetry it has an eerie and compelling literary quality and the characters are sublime. It is worthy of comparison with the wonderful Sarah Waters writing and is a sensational follow up to the authors successful debut novel The Silent Companions and in my opinion is far superior to it.
Put this on your must read list. It will be published in September and you can pre-order it now so you have something to look forward to when the nights begin to draw in.
I received my advance copy of #TheCorset from #NetGalley
My thanks to Raven Books, home of deliciously dark books
The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions.
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?
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