29 November 2018

Review: The Corset by Laura Purcell

* 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 = *****

Carpe Librum!

P.S. You can read my review of Laura Purcell's debut novel The Silent Companions here.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for sharing this Tracey. Cheers

  2. You're welcome Carole, I hope more readers will fall in love with this the way I have.

  3. Too bad it is a gothic thriller, since otherwise, I would have grabbed a copy of this right away!

  4. Really Davida? What don't you like about gothic thrillers? I might be able to allay your concerns, because this was such a great read.

  5. I am very keen to read this. I loved the sound of it from the start.

  6. I did too Theresa, and this might be my favourite book of 2018.

  7. With such a strong recommendation, I had to read this story. Not sure it will be my book of the year for 2021, but it will be ranking in the top few. And I'm chasing up The Silent Companions. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much for reading this on my recommendation Neil, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. The Silent Companions is quite different but I hope you enjoy that one too.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!