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Thursday, 20 September 2018

#BookReview The Corset by Laura Purcell #PublicationDay #TheCorset


About the book

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?

Published by Bloomsbury

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MY REVIEW

This was such an eagerly anticipated read for me after being terrified by The Silent Companions, and although The Corset didn't have that same horror element for me, it still had so many chills and creepy moments that I raced through it and loved being transported back into the world of Ruth and Dorothea.

They are very different characters and that's the strength of this story. You get to enjoy their very different outlook on life brought together by Dorothea visiting Ruth in prison and listening to her story in the hope that she can get to the bottom of why some people behave the way they do, by using phrenology. Dorothea is one of those people who thinks there is good in everyone, so although she is horrified by the story of Ruth and her crimes she is equally fascinated.

Ruth on the other hand has a very matter of fact approach to her life. She tells her life story to Dorothea in such a distanced manner that it adds to the chills while you are reading. Her life, at times, was terrifying but she seemed to process it all in a different way and that makes you question her sanity and innocence. It's all very unsettling to read but the more you learn of Ruth and her past, the more you begin to understand why she maybe turned out the way she did. A very tough childhood full of poverty and bullying, seems at odds with the ease that she takes to embroidery work. And as a keen cross-stitcher myself, I now can't pick up a needle without thinking of Ruth and her story!!

Ruth led a very grim life and, for me, that made her story more compelling than that of Dorothea. Dorothea and her life story were quite well guarded and I would have liked more of her past to see what led to this 'need to know' why people do things they do.

I loved the whole feel of this book with its' attention to detail of the history, the backstory was enthralling and having 2 such strong female characters was also a strong plus point for me. It was dark and full of revenge and just kept me gripped!! Cannot wait to see what Laura Purcell writes next as she's definitely become one of my favourites!

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