* Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury *
I'd give this 6 stars if I could, and with 4 reading weeks left in the year, I'm also fairly certain The Corset by Laura Purcell is going to be my No 1. favourite book of the year.
An historical fiction novel, The Corset is essentially a Victorian gothic thriller. Told in alternating chapters by two female narrators, Dorothea is a wealthy and charitable woman with an interest in phrenology, and Ruth is a prisoner awaiting trial for murder.
Dorothea visits Ruth in prison with the intention of measuring and monitoring her skull for her phrenology studies but is soon interested in Ruth's story. Before her arrest, Ruth was a seamstress and she claims her needlework has the power to kill.
The Corset is an absolute masterpiece with so many elements I enjoy in a book: secrets, friendship, Victorian England, needlework, gruesome hardship, betrayal, revenge, redemption, hope, poison and mystery. These elements in the Victorian setting and gothic atmosphere enhanced my enjoyment tenfold and I really didn't want this to finish.
It did draw to a close though and the subtle twist at the end made me clutch at my chest and gasp and is one of the most satisfying endings I can remember reading. The Corset is an intelligent, riveting and engaging story and I enjoyed every stitch on every page. If you enjoyed Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (book or the mini series) then this is for you.
My rating = *****
P.S. You can read my review of Laura Purcell's debut novel The Silent Companions here.