ARC Review

ARC Review: The Corset by Laura Purcell

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?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Physical copy of the book by Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

This was my first book by Laura Purcell (I somehow skipped Silent Companions, but I am definitely picking it up soon!) – but The Corset definitely cemented Ms. Purcell as one of the authors I definitely need to watch out for in the future. 

Be aware – there isn’t much I am gonna say about the plot beyond the fact the author has perfectly created a world that lets the reader travels to the Victorian era in a perfect contrast of the divide between two characters – Dorathea and Ruth.

The Corset is a multifaceted gothic fiction that truly and surely f*ks with the mind of the reader – two characters whose development truly astonishes the reader by the time the reader ends the book – they wouldn’t know whether to feel to be creeped out or just remain slack – jawed with surprise with the way the author has so perfectly created characters whose psychological make – up  somehow you’ll actually end up  not only recognizing yourself in them, until you realize that in this book, it isn’t actually a good thing.  

Intermixed beautifully with the plot is the pseudo – science of “Phrenology” – this pretty much cemented my love for this book. As a Psych Major; I have been taught that the art of reading skulls to determine why we act the way we (aka Phrenology) was quite prominent in the Victorian Engalnd and serves as one of the founding stones of Psychology as we know it today.

It is, therefore, the psychological aspect of the plot that delivers The Corset’s dark, dreary yet a raw matter to the reader – Laura Purcell has given us a story that pretty much cements her role as in the Gothic Fiction Industry – one that stays with you long after you have flipped after the end. Not gonna lie, it took me reading the ending TWICE, to understand exactly what had happened.  

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5


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