The Corset
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?

The Corset Details

TitleThe Corset
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 20th, 2018
PublisherRaven Books
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

The Corset Review

  • Amalia Gavea
    January 1, 1970
    ‘’Perhaps I do have the liberty to come and go as I please. But I do not attend for my own amusement. I came for you. To offer some comfort.’’ Jesus Christ, this book...Where do I begin? After the outstanding The Silent Companions, Laura Purcell creates a story that is dark, haunting, atmospheric, mysterious and complex. So different to his successful predecessor and yet equally powerful and agonizingly intense.The Corset will surely enter the lists of the best reads of 2018, arriving just in t ‘’Perhaps I do have the liberty to come and go as I please. But I do not attend for my own amusement. I came for you. To offer some comfort.’’ Jesus Christ, this book...Where do I begin? After the outstanding The Silent Companions, Laura Purcell creates a story that is dark, haunting, atmospheric, mysterious and complex. So different to his successful predecessor and yet equally powerful and agonizingly intense.The Corset will surely enter the lists of the best reads of 2018, arriving just in time for the spookiest part of the year.Dorothea is a young woman, born in the upper English society, aiming at comforting the women convicts in the Oakgate Prison. It is there that she meets Ruth, a sixteen-year-old girl, accused of vile murders, awaiting her trial. Dorothea is drawn to Ruth’s story because the young seamstress doesn’t claim she’s innocent. She is convinced that her hands led to the death of a number of people, through her stitches. Her unique ability as a seamstress becomes a murder weapon. Dorothea doesn’t know what to believe and she cannot imagine that Ruth’s story will lead her to doubt everything she’s ever taken for granted in her life and in her family... ‘’I’ve had enough of people talking behind my back.’’ The writing is exquisite. Beautiful in its darkness, raw and haunting. The Victorian era comes alive through the pages in all its grim and dark aspects and the two heroines are marvelously portrayed. Their voices are clearly different, their thoughts reflecting the views of their class and personal experiences. Even if you didn’t read the names at the beginning of each chapter, you would definitely understand whose story you’re reading.What creates a special setting in The Corset? For me, the combination of certain supernatural factors and an all-too-real harsh social status. The heart of the story lies in a variety of traditions related to sewing. In many Northern European and Slavic traditions, the stitches on a cloak or a chemise were part of a spell to guarantee the safety of the fighting warrior. Think about the scabbard of Excalibur, stitched by Morgaine in The Mists of Avalon. In other tales, the stitches were part of ill-wishing and betrayal. Consider Kriemhild and Siegfried’s cloak in the saga of the Nibelungs. In Greece, we believe it is ill fortune to sew clothes while someone’s wearing them. If we can’t help it, we whisper a few words to exorcise the evil that may lead to death. In the old days, we believed that no one should mend your clothes apart from your mother and many men learnt how to sew as a result of this superstition. So, ill wishes while sewing can lead to disaster. A needle and thread can prove lethal and Ruth is convinced of that.Another topic that belongs to the paranormal sphere is the pseudo-science of phrenology, one of my favourite ‘’absurd mock-science’’ moments. Phrenology was one of the obsessions of the Victorian age, a study of a human’s skull in an attempt to decipher the character and the inclinations. In an era that nothing would come to surface because of a severe notion of propriety, many tried to see beyond the tangible world and its inhabitants and this is how the frenzy for all things paranormal was born. Dorothea tries to answer the question of evil. What if any evil propensity could be discovered at a young age and eliminated? This is an issue that science still tries to address. Are we born ‘’bad’’ or certain circumstances lead us there?Now, these supernatural factors are brilliantly married to the bitter circumstances that influence the two women’s lives. The living conditions and the social status of Dorothea and Ruth are perfectly juxtaposed. Dorothea is a little bit too protected from the dark world and it is through Ruth that her eyes open. She acquires a newfound strength, adding to her own conviction of refusing to become just a wife and a mother. Ruth was forced to meet life face-to-face in cruel ways and we see that both women are actually in a prison of their own. One literally, the other socially.The character development is nothing short of outstanding, with Ruth being the most complex character because of her life background and her grim adventures. I loved her as I loved Dorothea to whom I found myself fervently connected. There is a rich cast of secondary characters that are nuanced, some of them likable, others much less so but all with their own part to play in the advancement of this dark story. Sometimes, this is the function of a character and I don’t see why should this be a fault. Whatever.I’ve read a multitude of books that fall into the Gothic Fiction genre. The Corset is on a pedestal among them. So different to The Silent Companions, equally beautiful in a twisted, dark, sad way. I can’t wait to see what the amazing Laura Purcell has in store for us in the future! ‘’At what point do we cease to be merciful, and become fools?’’ Many thanks to the PigeonholeHQ and Laura Purcell for the serialized ARC. It’s been a beautiful, excruciatingly agonizing experience in the best possible way. Sharing views in real time with other readers and discovering the writer’s own thoughts in the pages made this reading even more memorable.My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...
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  • Umut Rados
    January 1, 1970
    This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, after reading and loving Silent Companions. Unfortunately it fell short of her previous one. I really think Purcell is a talented writer with her atmospheric historical settings, creative plots, ability to raise tension. However, she couldn't escape certain pitfalls in this book that some writers often do. The Corset was also a Gothic story like Silent Companions with 2 protagonists Ruth and Dotty with intercepting lives. I don't want to This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, after reading and loving Silent Companions. Unfortunately it fell short of her previous one. I really think Purcell is a talented writer with her atmospheric historical settings, creative plots, ability to raise tension. However, she couldn't escape certain pitfalls in this book that some writers often do. The Corset was also a Gothic story like Silent Companions with 2 protagonists Ruth and Dotty with intercepting lives. I don't want to give spoilers, so I will be very brief with my review :)I found the idea in this book very original, even more so than the first book. I loved Dotty and Ruth as characters. However, there were many problems in the plot. In addition, there were too many characters. Purcell created a very good suspense at the beginning, but as we moved on in the story, more and more characters were added, the story line became unstructured, sloppy at times. She couldn't tie all ends together as there were too many fronts open. I couldn't understand the point of some characters' existence. She spent so much time fiddling around some unimportant characters and events that we lost sight of the main story. Yes, people say the end was a surprise, and it was. But, I think because of the side stories and characters, the reader was not allowed a chance to add two and two. I don't appreciate this kind of surprises personally. I'd like to have all the elements in front of me, and still the writer should be able to surprise me. Additional comment, there was quite detailed gore in this book, which I'm surprised about. I thought they were totally unnecessary and didn't add much to the story. Plus, it made my stomach cringe. In summary, I still enjoyed Purcell's writing, especially parts of the book when there was suspense building. But, there were too many loose ends, too many unreasonable actions from characters, and too many side stories and characters to deal with. For those reasons, I gave this book 2.5 stars.Thanks to NetGalley and Raven books for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ova Incekaraoglu
    January 1, 1970
    The Corset was a long awaited book for me, after devouring Silent Companions , and I feel extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to read this earlier.I wish I could say I liked this book as much as SC but sadly this isn't the case. In general, there is no doubt that Purcell is a skillful story teller and she's done an extensive research to take us back to the times the book is in. However there are some major problems in The Corset that let me down.***After This point, my review contains sp The Corset was a long awaited book for me, after devouring Silent Companions , and I feel extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to read this earlier.I wish I could say I liked this book as much as SC but sadly this isn't the case. In general, there is no doubt that Purcell is a skillful story teller and she's done an extensive research to take us back to the times the book is in. However there are some major problems in The Corset that let me down.***After This point, my review contains spoilers***(view spoiler)[My main problem in the book is that there were too many characters, which Purcell invested time to develop and left them like unfinished dresses lying around. Sir Thomas, David, Sir Thomas's sister, Dotty's to-be stepmother Mrs Pearse, even the twins. Ruth's plot and Dotty's plot, were not connected and was the most final touch to the story necessary? What happened to Thomas, and David? Why were they even in the story? Was Thomas only a plot device to hint about Dotty's dad and what he's possibly could have done and open her eyes?Second flaw for me was the lenght and repetitious events. We start with Ruth's unfortunate backstory, which was to me far too stretched, then pulled into a world of cruelty in Metyard's. There was again no joy for me reading what Ruth have been through Mrs Metyard's house . A plate breaks, there is torture, then a candle falls, there is more torture, I think at one point there was also a stain or slime in the clothings, so there was more torture/cruelty. I can't understand why those repetitions were necessary and looking back I can't see what it adds to the story line. The big reveal was a total hideout, except the mention of one of the villain's 'expressionless-ness' and a coming and going cocoa a few times there was no way to see it coming. But then If I am not falling into a misunderstanding, I am quite baffled by the way the villains plotted their revenge. Surely, getting rid of the older Mrs Metyard's were more important for them, so why did they planned the younger one but the fate of older one was more coincidental? Also why couldn't Dorothy do anything after realising what was happening to Ruth? She is surely a women from a respectable status in the society as hinted many times in the book. So for me, these look like plot holes.The gothic "zing" the Silent Companions was all about the atmosphere, the thick Yorkshire fog swept our face whilst we read it, however Corset fails to go beyond some bloody and gory scenes to chill us. There is no chilling horror elements in Corset, it didn't really scared me as SC did.Long story short, this might be a good historical book but falls short in means of plot and characters. For me it was a bit crowded, and the real villains weren't properly portrayed. Why invest in other not-crucial characters when you don't even develop your villains. I hope this review doesn't sound too harsh, I think I am not feeling satisfied, maybe because I had really high expectations. I really liked the vague, elegant ending in Companions and this one felt like just looking after to surprise/shock the reader, but without really building the premise up to the surprise. And the ending made no sense to me whatsoever. Is this the story of Ruth, Dotty or Dotty's parents, or Billy/Nellie... Really unclear. (hide spoiler)]Thanks to NetGalley and Raven books for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.Full review on the blog soon!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    If bad things stared happening to everyone around you, to each and every person you stitched clothing for, it's inevitable that you'd start to wonder whether it might somehow, in some crazy way, be your fault. Maybe you're jinxed. Maybe your hatred and anger and despair somehow infected the material, maybe your bad luck rubs off. Or maybe you did it on purpose? Maybe, if you tried, you could do it again...So goes the tale of Ruth Butterham, in prison for murder, her confession of guilt meaning t If bad things stared happening to everyone around you, to each and every person you stitched clothing for, it's inevitable that you'd start to wonder whether it might somehow, in some crazy way, be your fault. Maybe you're jinxed. Maybe your hatred and anger and despair somehow infected the material, maybe your bad luck rubs off. Or maybe you did it on purpose? Maybe, if you tried, you could do it again...So goes the tale of Ruth Butterham, in prison for murder, her confession of guilt meaning the case is closed before the trial even begins, the death penalty looming in her immediate future. Enter the well-to-do Dorothea, apparently at the prison for charitable works, though actually desperate to prove her ideas about the science of phrenology. What better place to link the patterns of the skull with the immorality and degradation of women in the penal system? Ruth's woeful past is related in flashbacks to Dorothea, whose chapters deal with the current day, and who is, initially at least, dismissive of such supernatural idiocy; Ruth's uncanny abilities seem no more than the product of a superstitious mind. That is, until she starts to see things that plain thinking just can't explain.Following traditional gothic style, the game, of course, is working out who or what you believe- whether the events recounted can be justified by the normal rules of the world or if extraordinary explanations must be sought. Especially difficult when both narrators are far from reliable. Each of the deaths, tragic or well deserved, that could ostensibly be the result of Ruth's deadly stitching are stretched to the extreme in ways that leave them wide open, with the supernatural aspect pushed for the sake of the plot at one point, then human agency at another. The problem I have is that I'm quite willing to believe in both, in literature at least, so I can hold both answers in my mind simultaneously without having to decide on one or the other. The mystery is in the way the author will take it, but I am equally prepared for, and happy with, either or both. If, however, the answers are strongly signalled early on, the climactic build is completely undermined as there's nothing left to wonder. It was completely different in the author's first book, The Silent Companions, which was one of the best modern pieces of gothic lit I've read: well written, atmospheric, and beyond creepy. Each event was deeply unsettling because it had that genuine possibility of being malicious humanity or something inexplicable. Either way, it was frightening. This has none of that. Other than the horrendous abuse suffered by Ruth during her young life, there's no real horror and no sense of the unexpected. Honestly, so what if she can kill people with her stitching? I'm not getting a gown made any time soon, so i'll be alright, cheers. It's too distant to make you feel anything, it doesn't have enough menace to chill. As in the first book, the writing is vibrant, with gothic themes layered throughout. The slowly blooming revenge plot is the best part, twisting through both stories so that the climax is inevitable, but no less pleasing. The clever way it changes one character's perspective, even her very nature, while setting up a kind of reversal for the finale was beautiful to watch. Both women are trapped in their own ways, claustrophobic lives that offer scant chance for personal freedom, but they find their own paths in the end. Even with the aspects that didn't work for me, there's no doubting this author's talent. I won't hesitate to pick up whatever she writes next. But for those who want her best, go for The Silent Companions.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I got retroactive FOMO for Laura Purcell’s novel The Silent Companions because everybody seemed to be raving about it, so I knew I needed to read this one. Especially because it focuses on two women, one of them being a prisoner on trial for murder. I love books featuring unapologetically difficult women and Ruth and Dorothea definitely fit the bill.Dorothea Truelove is a young, unmarried woman, with plenty of suitors who would rather spend her time doing charity work (do not take her to be a ki I got retroactive FOMO for Laura Purcell’s novel The Silent Companions because everybody seemed to be raving about it, so I knew I needed to read this one. Especially because it focuses on two women, one of them being a prisoner on trial for murder. I love books featuring unapologetically difficult women and Ruth and Dorothea definitely fit the bill.Dorothea Truelove is a young, unmarried woman, with plenty of suitors who would rather spend her time doing charity work (do not take her to be a kind person though, she really is not). She is most interested in prisons, as she has a strongly developed theory of phrenology that she feels the need to prove (which proves my point about her being maybe not the best person). As such, Ruth seems to be the perfect specimen to research for her: Ruth is sixteen and in prison awaiting her trial that will most likely lead to her execution for murder. The story is told in these dual perspectives, where Ruth is telling her story to Dorothea and the reader is along for the ride to figure out whether Ruth truly killed her mistress with her magic needle work.For me, this was a really uneven reading experience. While I for the most part really enjoyed Ruth’s perspective and the ambiguity of her story, Dorothea’s part of the book did not work for me (except for the last chapter). Ruth is a compelling character, whose tough and hatred-filled veneer starts to crack the further her story developes. She is still so childlike while being so very broken, it hurt my heart. Dorothea on the other hand with her boring social life and her creepy obsession with phrenology did not quite keep my interest. This might be different for readers from different countries, but for me phrenology itself makes me very uncomfortable. I do not want to read about this and did not realize how obsessive Dorothea would be describing everybody’s skull (there is an in-story reason for this – but it did not change my gut reaction to this).Furthermore, I found quite a bit of Ruth’s backstory to toe the line to torture porn, which probably says more about me as a reader than about the book to be honest. I would have liked to have these scenes be a little bit more scarcely used.However, I found the ending to be very satisfying – Laura Purcell pulls together the two storylines in a really wonderful way. I was fine with the men’s storylines to be unresolved because in the end – this is a book about Ruth and Dorothea.I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing UK / Raven Books in exchange for an honest review.You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    My gosh, The Corset was such a cool, edgy and randomly horrifying tale, such descriptive beauty to be found here wrapped around a story that is both scary and entirely emotive.Dorothea visits women in jail – she is sensible, pragmatic and intelligent, using the visits to gain knowledge for her scientific research. But when she meets Ruth, whose life has been dark and twisted, who believes she holds within her a terrible power, Dorothea slowly begins to question all that she once believed..I love My gosh, The Corset was such a cool, edgy and randomly horrifying tale, such descriptive beauty to be found here wrapped around a story that is both scary and entirely emotive.Dorothea visits women in jail – she is sensible, pragmatic and intelligent, using the visits to gain knowledge for her scientific research. But when she meets Ruth, whose life has been dark and twisted, who believes she holds within her a terrible power, Dorothea slowly begins to question all that she once believed..I loved this. The mystery of the truth behind Ruth’s case is so cleverly woven, at the same time we get a horrifying and authentic glimpse at the social hierarchy of the time –  the abyss between those that have and those that have not, the casual cruelty inflicted on the lower classes, the lack of choices for women of any circumstance. Dorothea’s story is just as absorbing as Ruth’s, the challenges she faces are also many. Danger lurks around every corner and The Corset is both a delightful and an emotionally challenging read.This is visceral, heart stopping writing, totally absorbing the reader, a darkly unsettling undertone runs throughout and doesn’t loosen it’s grip until that very last page – not even then really, there are certain scenes in this novel that will never leave me.The brilliant plotting and the author’s ability to immerse you into the story meant that I was randomly blindsided on occasion, which was hugely satisfying, when I actually don’t expect the unexpected it’s the icing on the reading cake for me.Brilliant from opening to closing, The Corset is incredible. What else can I say?Highly Recommended.
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  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    Dorothea Truelove (yes, really) is a wealthy young woman who regularly visits female prisoners. While she frames this practice as charity, her true obsession is phrenology. She’s convinced that if she can only find the right subject, her theories about the connections between head shape and character will be proven right, and the women of New Oakgate Prison are the perfect guinea pigs. However, time is running out: Dorothea is 25, and her father is determined to marry her off as soon as possible Dorothea Truelove (yes, really) is a wealthy young woman who regularly visits female prisoners. While she frames this practice as charity, her true obsession is phrenology. She’s convinced that if she can only find the right subject, her theories about the connections between head shape and character will be proven right, and the women of New Oakgate Prison are the perfect guinea pigs. However, time is running out: Dorothea is 25, and her father is determined to marry her off as soon as possible – and she must choose a prosperous suitor, not her policeman beau.Ruth Butterham is 16 and incarcerated at New Oakgate Prison, awaiting trial for the murder of her mistress. Her story is tragic and often rather gruesome, a tale of poverty, abuse and exploitation. She claims responsibility not only for the murder she stands accused of, but also countless other deaths and unfortunate ‘accidents’; according to her account, she is able to influence others’ fates by sewing garments for them. Could this bizarre claim possibly be true? What is Dorothea to make of the fact that Ruth’s phrenological profile indicates an excellent memory and a propensity for honesty?When I first read a summary of The Corset, I felt it sounded similar to Sarah Waters’ Affinity, and there is indeed something of Waters about this novel: it alternates between the underbelly of Victorian society and the cosseted existence of a well-off family; there are gothic flourishes and hints of the supernatural, forbidden relationships and obsessive love. Ruth’s account is compelling, while Dorothea’s dark, selfish side makes her far more interesting than she initially appears.Towards the end I felt the plot started to trip over itself a bit. After what Ruth had endured at the hands of the Metyards, I found it very difficult to believe she could change her mind about Kate so easily. Also, what we saw of Dorothea’s relationships with David and Thomas was never wrapped up in any meaningful way; it felt like a lot of hints had been dropped here without any resolution, but also no reason for misdirection to be necessary.Like Purcell’s debut The Silent Companions, this is a juicy historical novel that keeps you happily hooked from start to finish. Some developments are obvious from the beginning; others are more enjoyable to tease out. There’s a satisfying ending, too. Despite a smattering of flaws, overall The Corset is great fun.I received an advance review copy of The Corset from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Callum McLaughlin
    January 1, 1970
    An intricately plotted and thematically rich gothic chiller; this was just the kind of read I was in the mood for.As with the best of its genre, there is an undercurrent of mystery and threat that brews throughout. In this case, it centres around whether or not we can trust Ruth Butterham, a 16-year-old seamstress accused of murder, who claims to possess some kind of supernatural ability. Is she telling the truth; is she lying; or is she simply mad? And perhaps more importantly, if she is a kill An intricately plotted and thematically rich gothic chiller; this was just the kind of read I was in the mood for.As with the best of its genre, there is an undercurrent of mystery and threat that brews throughout. In this case, it centres around whether or not we can trust Ruth Butterham, a 16-year-old seamstress accused of murder, who claims to possess some kind of supernatural ability. Is she telling the truth; is she lying; or is she simply mad? And perhaps more importantly, if she is a killer, what could have driven her to it?At face value, this is a real page-turner; I flew through the whole thing in just a few sittings, transported into Ruth's bleak world, and utterly invested in the outcome of her harrowing story. Beneath the surface, however, the book explores the horror of poverty, as well as the notion of trauma and survivor's guilt (with Ruth displaying signs of what we would now recognise as PTSD). It is also a scathing criticism of the class system, and lack of female autonomy.I can see some people being grabbed more by Ruth's sections of the narrative than Dorothea's (as I myself was), but I think the latter's point-of-view chapters are necessary for several reasons: They serve as breathing space, helping to break up the often brutal events in Ruth's life; they remind us to constantly call into question how reliable Ruth is as a narrator, by adding an outward perspective; and they allow for interesting thematic parallels to emerge with regards to gender and class. Ruth’s lack of money or social standing leave her obviously powerless from the start. Whilst Dorothea, for all her family's wealth, undoubtedly has the more comfortable life, it becomes increasingly clear that she too lacks control over her own future, being unable to marry the man she loves due to him being of a lower class, and standing to lose her inheritance should her widowed father remarry. It’s because the two narratives run side-by-side, and increasingly weave together, that the title and imagery of The Corset work so well; symbolising the restrictive, stifling, and even painful nature of womanhood, regardless of class or the outward appearance of freedom.Things unravel brilliantly as the plot reaches its climax, with well-placed twists, and moments throughout the book that are at equal turns poignant and horrifying. Purcell maintains, for me, the perfect amount of ambiguity to leave the reader satisfied, without losing the sinister tone of the book at large. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s debut, The Silent Companions, but think there is a marked improvement in both the handling of her complex narrative, and the balance of her pacing this time around. The Corset was an immersive, visceral reading experience when I needed precisely that, making Purcell an author I am very excited to continue following in the future.
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  • Evie Braithwaite
    January 1, 1970
    Purcell has already proven herself victorious when it comes down to the gothic genre with her debut novel, The Silent Companions. Her follow-up, a creepy Victorian thriller, is just as enthralling.As with her debut, Purcell employs interweaving narratives to tell her chilling story. The Corset depicts the juxtaposing lives of two young women who sit at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Dorothea Truelove is a well-off, beautiful lady, who refutes all her father’s attempts at having her marrie Purcell has already proven herself victorious when it comes down to the gothic genre with her debut novel, The Silent Companions. Her follow-up, a creepy Victorian thriller, is just as enthralling.As with her debut, Purcell employs interweaving narratives to tell her chilling story. The Corset depicts the juxtaposing lives of two young women who sit at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Dorothea Truelove is a well-off, beautiful lady, who refutes all her father’s attempts at having her married and is in love with a man lower than her social station. She’s a charitable lady and upon visiting prisoners of Oakgate prison, her fascination with phrenology and with observing the characteristics displayed by criminals only elevates when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth Butterham. Ruth is poor, has zero prospects and is awaiting trial for the murder of her employer. From just the age of 12, Ruth has a notable talent for sewing. However, each person she has ever stitched for dies in a horrific manner. It’s inevitable for her to wonder that maybe, in some inexplicable way, it is her fault. She spends her final days in prison determined that she has the supernatural power to bring death by sewing hatred and ill will into the garments she works on. Purcell triumphs in making the reader question, has Ruth Butterham gone mad or is there really some supernatural evil at play? Is she really a victim in all of this? After leaving home, Ruth embarks on a life of drudgery as she toils for the malevolent Metyards, resides with merciless twins, befriends a black girl called Mim, meets the charming Billy and comes upon the contemptible Captain. The unsettling scenes that occur from the Metyard house are hard to forget. As in the first book, The Corset’s writing is vibrant and drips with Gothic imagery. As Dorothea learns more about Ruth’s dreadful past, we join her in wanting to know whether Ruth is telling the truth or is merely delusional. Purcell also successfully illustrates the subordinate position of women in the Victorian period when telling this heart-breaking, gripping tale. As the story unravels, as does a twisted revenge plot, interlacing between both narratives leading us to a startling climax. I couldn’t put this book down; Laura Purcell is definitely an instant buy for me from now on! An enchantingly chilling read. Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    An incredibly well deserved 5 stars goes to Laura Purcell for this gripping novel. After reading the Silent Companions I wondered how she could top it but this novel was absolutely amazing. Telling the story of Ruth Butterham who is in prison for murder. She is visited by Dororthea Truelove who tries to discover whether Ruth is guilty or not. Is it possible to kill with a needle and thread or is Ruth a victim or murderer?The story of these two women who both have their secrets slowly unfolds to An incredibly well deserved 5 stars goes to Laura Purcell for this gripping novel. After reading the Silent Companions I wondered how she could top it but this novel was absolutely amazing. Telling the story of Ruth Butterham who is in prison for murder. She is visited by Dororthea Truelove who tries to discover whether Ruth is guilty or not. Is it possible to kill with a needle and thread or is Ruth a victim or murderer?The story of these two women who both have their secrets slowly unfolds to a breathtaking finale.
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  • Vanessa Wild
    January 1, 1970
    A creepy, gothic Victorian novel told from the viewpoints of two very different women, Dorothea Truelove and Ruth Butterham. Dorothea comes from a wealthy family, has a fascination for the shape of people’s heads and visits female criminals in prison as part of her charity works.. One such female is Ruth who is awaiting trial for murder and who believes she has caused deaths via her sewing, a supernatural force.This is a dark and atmospheric tale with disturbing and ominous undertones. There are A creepy, gothic Victorian novel told from the viewpoints of two very different women, Dorothea Truelove and Ruth Butterham. Dorothea comes from a wealthy family, has a fascination for the shape of people’s heads and visits female criminals in prison as part of her charity works.. One such female is Ruth who is awaiting trial for murder and who believes she has caused deaths via her sewing, a supernatural force.This is a dark and atmospheric tale with disturbing and ominous undertones. There are subtle hints of menace throughout which only makes it the more unnerving. It’s beautifully written with some brilliant characters, not all particularly pleasant to say the least! It drew me in from the first page and had me in its grip until the last. I was utterly engrossed, wondering whether there was a supernatural power at force or if events could easily be explained in a rational way. This is just such an absorbing and mesmerising story, it’s so cleverly plotted with an unexpected and excellent twist at the end. I loved it
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  • Karen Mace
    January 1, 1970
    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 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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  • Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
    January 1, 1970
    I adored Silent Companions last year and that despite the fact that I normally don't read spooky books. Needless to say that I had high expectations for this one and although I think this is a very decent read, it did not live up to my expectations and also - in my mind - to SC. The story is told from two characters POV and this can often be a challenge in a novel, especially, when one character has a much better, more intriguing storyline than the other. Dorothea's storyline was for me very wea I adored Silent Companions last year and that despite the fact that I normally don't read spooky books. Needless to say that I had high expectations for this one and although I think this is a very decent read, it did not live up to my expectations and also - in my mind - to SC. The story is told from two characters POV and this can often be a challenge in a novel, especially, when one character has a much better, more intriguing storyline than the other. Dorothea's storyline was for me very weak in comparison to Ruth's and often D did no more than just be our commentator of what we just learned from Ruth. Ruth's story was more interesting, more harrowing and the one that gripped me. Dorothea was naive, self-involved (although I think both designed that way deliberately), but it just did not make this part of the story that interesting for the most part. I would also have preferred a different ending, but that is just me probably.
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  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Corset is another beautifully written Gothic thriller by Laura Purcell. I have read her first novel The Silent companions, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of this.The story is set in Victorian England about two women. Dorothea Truelove, a wealthy woman who is on the committee of New Oakgate Prison. Who spends her time visiting the inmates in prison and then there is Ruth Butterham, 16-year-old seamstress who has an exceptional talent. She is on trial for murder. The two women are poles a The Corset is another beautifully written Gothic thriller by Laura Purcell. I have read her first novel The Silent companions, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of this.The story is set in Victorian England about two women. Dorothea Truelove, a wealthy woman who is on the committee of New Oakgate Prison. Who spends her time visiting the inmates in prison and then there is Ruth Butterham, 16-year-old seamstress who has an exceptional talent. She is on trial for murder. The two women are poles apart from each other. But when Ruth tells the horrific story of the murder of her employer, and Mim it somehow effects Dorothea by impacting on her own life. Dorothea has her own problems with her own father who is hounding her to get married, even finding her a suitor.The story alternates between both characters throughout the book but, the story expertly fits together somehow. There is a lot of twists and turns and sometimes this story was very bleak and gruesome at times but, this made it more realistic. I love historical novels and this does not disappoint. I also love the twist at the end I didn’t see that coming.Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for a copy of this book.
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  • Beadyjan
    January 1, 1970
    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 i 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 a 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.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    The writing is exquisite and sublime. Very gothic and delightfully dark. The idea that someone might be able to sew evil into every stitch they make when mending or making clothes is creepy. The novel as a whole explores this along with the art of measuring someone's head to see if they have criminal tendencies. There's lots of chilling facts and ideas here but for me, the plot wasn't as nicely stitched as it could have been. No one thread running through it which kept it taunt throughout. Loose The writing is exquisite and sublime. Very gothic and delightfully dark. The idea that someone might be able to sew evil into every stitch they make when mending or making clothes is creepy. The novel as a whole explores this along with the art of measuring someone's head to see if they have criminal tendencies. There's lots of chilling facts and ideas here but for me, the plot wasn't as nicely stitched as it could have been. No one thread running through it which kept it taunt throughout. Loose threads...right that's enough of the sewing imagery. I can't fault the writing and the turn of phrase however and the ability to make the reader jump in fear. I will be back for book 3.
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  • Rosie Blake
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent, creepy, absorbing read. I loved it.
  • Pheadra Farah
    January 1, 1970
    If after completing a book I have to think about what to rate it, it never gets five stars. The Corset left me with no hesitation. A full five stars for this brilliantly written gothic thriller that encompasses hate, love, fear, strength, crime and punishment.It is the tale of two women, in many ways totally different from one another, and yet in many unseen ways, two sides of the same coin. Dorothea Truelove is a wealthy 25-year old single woman who sits on the committee of New Oakgate Prison. If after completing a book I have to think about what to rate it, it never gets five stars. The Corset left me with no hesitation. A full five stars for this brilliantly written gothic thriller that encompasses hate, love, fear, strength, crime and punishment.It is the tale of two women, in many ways totally different from one another, and yet in many unseen ways, two sides of the same coin. Dorothea Truelove is a wealthy 25-year old single woman who sits on the committee of New Oakgate Prison. She visits the inmates in prison as she has a macabre fascination for phrenology and takes every opportunity to study skulls. Ruth Butterham is a 16-year-old talented seamstress on trial for murder. Each woman is a victim of her surroundings and upbringing and both are likeable for different reasons.Ruth has suffered atrocities from an early age and mistakenly holds herself accountable for the destruction surrounding herself. The moment she is shown any kindness, she trusts fully and without hesitation only to discover too late the duplicitous nature of people. Dorothea is in love with a policeman of whom her father would never approve. Further, her father is engaged to a woman Dorothea despises and the death of Dorothea’s mother is suspicious. The story alternates between both characters throughout the book with Dorothea wanting to save Ruth but in a twist of irony, it is Ruth who saves Dorothea.This deeply disturbing, sad and at times shocking story is exquisitely told and had me gripped from the first sentence. The seriousness of the situation is interspersed with touches of humour in the guise of Dorothea’s observations of peoples’ skulls. This is a fine example of an undercurrent that bubbles throughout the story of who can and can’t be trusted and explores the horror of poverty, the class system and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested as survivor's guilt in the case of Ruth.Things unstitch skilfully as the plot reaches its climax, with well-placed developments and pivotal moments that render this story heartbreaking and horrifying. The ending, unforeseen, was a stroke of mastery and leaves the reader with a glimmer of hope that all is not lost, with a stitch in time, having saved who knows what! I will without hesitation now buy this author’s first book, The Silent Companions.
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  • Lauren Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    An atmospheric, chiller thriller of epic Gothic proportions!The story centres around two ladies. One genteel lady Dorothea Truelove who spends her inheritance and time visiting prison's to talk to women criminals. Dorothea has an interest in skulls (phrenology) and wonders if the shape of a person's head can make someone a criminal or if they are a victim of circumstance. On one prison visit Dorothea meets 16 year old Ruth Butterham who has been accused of murdering her mistress and that is wher An atmospheric, chiller thriller of epic Gothic proportions!The story centres around two ladies. One genteel lady Dorothea Truelove who spends her inheritance and time visiting prison's to talk to women criminals. Dorothea has an interest in skulls (phrenology) and wonders if the shape of a person's head can make someone a criminal or if they are a victim of circumstance. On one prison visit Dorothea meets 16 year old Ruth Butterham who has been accused of murdering her mistress and that is where this delicious story unfurls one chilling thread at a time. The story immerses you in a dark world where Ruth fights for survival in a workhouse as a seamstress pouring her love and energy into her creations, when she realises it isn't just her good emotions that have gone into her work, but her true, deepest, darkest feelings. People start dying and falling ill under mysterious circumstances and Ruth begins to think that perhaps it all started with a needle and thread....A dark, chilling mystery, woven with friendships in adversity, the power and dignity to survive no matter what the odds. Superb characterisation, description and setting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - especially if you loved Laura's first novel Silent Companions.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    A gothic masterpiece. Dark, chilling, harrowing and heart breaking, but inventive and evocative, this story weaves its way into your subconscious and the threads stay with you. I was worried that the ending wouldn't be able to live up to the rest of the story ... but it most certainly does. One of my best of 2018, I thoroughly recommend this novel. It's STONKING!!
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Another exceptionally twisted and cleverly plotted novel by Laura Purcell. 'The Corset' affirms Purcell’s status not only as one of the greatest authors of the Gothic genre, but of the 21st century. A terrific novel by a truly outstanding, and talented, writer.
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    Not sure of the final grade yet - probably a B-, so 3.5 stars rounded up.Review to follow.
  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    May i say, wow!! I loved this book!I always seek to find good Victorian / gothic thrillers and this is one of them!!Very atmospheric and quite dark!! I liked the way that the author unfolded the plot and the narrating style, which i found brilliant!!I can definitely say that this book is as same, or even better than the first book of the author - the silent companions!Definitely 5 stars from me!!
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  • Kiran Hargrave
    January 1, 1970
    A sublime successor to The Silent Companions. Ruth is a wonderful creation - so mournful - and there is a truly sinister figure in the form of the Captain. Excellent.
  • Gerry
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second novel following author, Laura Purcell’s debut, ‘The Silent Companions’ which happened to be a book that I binge read in one sitting. That wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t supposed to have been doing a buddy read of it!I, like many others, found ‘The Silent Companions,’ well written, cleverly crafted and engaging. As usual my review is pending (that should be my actual tagline in life) and I gave it 3 stars.It was almost a 4 star review but not quite. It was a ‘not quite’ This is the second novel following author, Laura Purcell’s debut, ‘The Silent Companions’ which happened to be a book that I binge read in one sitting. That wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t supposed to have been doing a buddy read of it!I, like many others, found ‘The Silent Companions,’ well written, cleverly crafted and engaging. As usual my review is pending (that should be my actual tagline in life) and I gave it 3 stars.It was almost a 4 star review but not quite. It was a ‘not quite’ because the more I thought on it the more some of the events didn’t quite smooth themselves over in my overactive brain. But please don’t think a 3 star review is a bad thing. It’s not. I’m beginning to worry that people think it is. A 3 star review means that I enjoyed something very much and I’m glad I read it but that either some of it wasn’t 100% my cup of tea or that it was enjoyable in the way that cake is…delicious to consume but with no nutritional value.So far, from the reviews that I have read of The Corset, the impression that I’m getting is that people like it but they don’t love it as much as they loved The Silent Companions.What do I think, you ask?The Corset is also well written, cleverly crafted and engaging and as I actually enjoyed it more than The Silent Companion’s it gets 4 shining stars from me!Why did I enjoy it more?I’m truly worried that I enjoy suffering. This story is filled with suffering and people doing horrible things to others and both are sometimes described in gory, visceral detail. But it’s all very Victorian, all very Gothic (which I like) and I also enjoyed the ‘maybe magic, maybe mundane’ approach to a character that (maybe) inflicts pain on others through her own feelings as she sews their clothes.I also clearly like stories about murderesses if my opinion of Alias Grace is to be counted.The Corset does have a slight ‘Alias Grace’ feel to it. In Alias Grace, a male doctor (Simon) who has an interest in psychiatry meets with Grace, our possible murderess, to dig into her past in an attempt to understand why she killed her employers. Or if she did. Grace tells us (through him) her story and we also get Simon’s own story woven into events.In The Corset, a female aristocrat (Dorothea) who has an interest in phrenology meets with Ruth, our possible murderess, to dig into her past (and feel her skull) in an attempt to understand why she killed her employer. Ruth tells us (through Dorothea) her story and we also get Dorothea’s own story woven into events.Hmm. Similar vibe. But I clearly like this approach so I guess I wouldn’t say that I’m too bothered.This approach does rely on both characters having meaningful interaction and also relies on both stories being interesting. For me, this doesn’t necessarily fully work here. Ruth and Dorothea’s interactions are surface level until the end and Dorothea’s interest in Ruth is purely from a non-emotional, scientific viewpoint.Also for me, Ruth’s story is far more interesting than Dorothea’s. Ruth’s kept me engaged all the way through while Dorothea’s only really became interesting towards the end when suddenly hidden truth’s from her own life come into play.The other issue I had with Dorothea’s story were the loose characters. There were a few that felt superfluous to requirements and whose ending was never resolved. For example Dorothea was in love with David, a policeman. We know nothing about David and meet him occasionally and so never really feel what Dorothea claims to feel.David seemed to serve less as a character and more of a plot device to show that Dorothea didn’t want to marry someone of her father’s choosing. The reason given was that she was already in love. I felt it would have been more valid to state that she, a woman of scientific ambition who craved independence, didn’t want to marry simply because she didn’t want to.Despite my grumbles, Dorothea and Ruth had incredibly distinctive voices which can be hard for writers to achieve in multiple, first person POV but I felt that it was done successfully and when Dorothea’s story picked up, it picked up.The writing style is just as good as it was for The Silent Companion’s and it’s clear that the author has talent. I really did find this an interesting read and was invested in the characters (especially Ruth) and wanted to know how this would end.While I feel like the story itself ends on a whimper rather than a bang, this could also be because I felt I could read another couple of chapters of the story quite happily.I know I have my gripes but I enjoyed it and (against popular opinion) enjoyed it more than the author’s debut. Again, I’m worried its because I really like stories about murderesses. Is this a problem? Do I have a problem?Please tell me if this is a problem. Someone needs to check my skull.Laura Purcell is going to become an auto-buy author of mine. I can just tell.
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  • Celine's book corner
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Dorothea is a young noble lady who spends most of her days studying phrenology (a study focused on measuring the human skull, that believes that certain areas of the skull have specific functions). She dreams of being able to prove that the shape of someone’s skull can determine whether a person is good or evil. To assist in those studies, she often visits women prisoners who will share their stories I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Dorothea is a young noble lady who spends most of her days studying phrenology (a study focused on measuring the human skull, that believes that certain areas of the skull have specific functions). She dreams of being able to prove that the shape of someone’s skull can determine whether a person is good or evil. To assist in those studies, she often visits women prisoners who will share their stories with her and agree to have their head measured. That’s where she will meet Ruth Butterham, a young girl of 16 who was imprisoned for murdering her mistress. Ruth insists that she can curse people through sewing and that she had already killed people accidentally before setting on murdering her mistress. By spending time with Ruth, Dorothea will have to figure out whether Ruth truly has supernatural powers or whether she’s making it all up.The first thing that struck me about this book was the similarities to Atwood’s Alias Grace. In Alias Grace, a doctor visits Grace, a young lady awaiting trial for the murder of her master, and the story is told by Grace so as the book goes on both the doctor and the reader are taken through her memories of the events. The Corset is very similar on this point, as Ruth tells the story from her own point of view and we are taken through her memories too. Both books comprise very dark secrets being revealed. I was a bit put off at first by how similar the book was to Atwood’s (especially since Atwood is one of my all time favourite authors and there is no rivalling her) but then I let myself be transported by the story and I dare say it took me places I didn’t see coming.I did not anticipate how dark and gruesome the story would get and I have to say that it sent chills down my spine and left me gasping a couple of times. If it wasn’t for this dark turn of events I probably would have gotten bored quite early on, so I believe this was what kept me entertained.On the whole I would say that it was an enjoyable read. I didn’t feel particularly strongly about it but it was nicely written and entertaining.I had heard good things about Laura Purcell after her bestseller The Silent Companions came out (which I own but am yet to read) and I also heard people say that The Corset wasn’t quite as good. I try not to let that put me off reading The Corset, as everyone’s tastes are different, but it does make me look forward to reading The Silent Companions.The Corset is a perfect read for anyone who likes historical fiction, murder mysteries and horrors. I don’t think it classifies as a horror book but it definitely has some gruesome bits to it!
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  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    This is an attempt at a novel in the grand Gothic, Victorian style. That touch of mystery, the daring twist to the end, a glimpse of the unfortunate poor and grisly death backdropped against Society. Sadly, it didn't quite pull it off. All the ingredients are there but I found the links between the potentially supernatural nature of the deaths and the more logical causes (diptheria, arsenic poisoning) to be overlaboured and somewhat distracting. Maybe this says more about my interests than I wou This is an attempt at a novel in the grand Gothic, Victorian style. That touch of mystery, the daring twist to the end, a glimpse of the unfortunate poor and grisly death backdropped against Society. Sadly, it didn't quite pull it off. All the ingredients are there but I found the links between the potentially supernatural nature of the deaths and the more logical causes (diptheria, arsenic poisoning) to be overlaboured and somewhat distracting. Maybe this says more about my interests than I would like - after all recognising the signs of Arsenic poisoning doesn't speak to a balanced mind I suppose.My biggest issue with the book is Dorothea Truelove. I don't mind that she believes in Phrenology, that she believes it is the true denoter of our personalities and that the shape of our skull can be changed by "good works". No, what I could not bear about her was her sanctimonious outlook on others. She is an odious, spoilt child who although "five and twenty" behaves in a far younger manner and seems to believe that only she can be correct in any situation and that she is "owed" the truth and obeisance from others.Maybe this was a deliberate ploy by the author to better highlight Ruth Butterham. I found her character to be far more realistic. Touchingly naive and trusting but with a backbone forged from true steel to endure the loss of her family and the tragedies of Mrs Metyard's. Ruth's confusion about her situation and her honest belief that she could somehow weave emotion in to her sewing was beautifully constructed and you were left feeling as though this was a real person telling you her tale.Unfortunately, the other characters in the book are all a little two dimensional and sadly predictable. The one exception being the charismatic Billy Rooney - but in the end even he falls into a disappointing morass of predictability. The other girls in Metyard's sewing room are purely there as foils to Ruth's innocence and are cliches of Dickensian characters (the cruel and selfish Daisy and Ivy, the timid Nell and the dreamer that is Mim).I sort of liked the book but I really didn't love it. I wanted to as a good Gothic tale is a wonderful joy to be savoured. Regrettably, there was not over much to savour here for this reader. It passed the time well enough and there was some good writing, I just found the scenarios and the people stretched too finely upon their frame.THIS IS AN HONEST AND UNBIASED REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THIS NOVEL RECEIVED VIA THE PIGEONHOLE.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    The Corset is a book that contains everything I love in fiction. Historical crime with a gothic twist. It also is convincing portrayal of how difficult it was for those who lived in poverty and the attitudes towards women at the time.The two women concerned, Dorothea who is a wealthy and single socialite is fascinated by phrenology. She engages in good deeds at the women’s prison and uses the women there to learn more about it. Ruth is one of the young women who she meets and she is the one who The Corset is a book that contains everything I love in fiction. Historical crime with a gothic twist. It also is convincing portrayal of how difficult it was for those who lived in poverty and the attitudes towards women at the time.The two women concerned, Dorothea who is a wealthy and single socialite is fascinated by phrenology. She engages in good deeds at the women’s prison and uses the women there to learn more about it. Ruth is one of the young women who she meets and she is the one who intrigues her the most. Because she has been accused of and admitted to murder. The method that Ruth describes is different to every type of murder and as you read her story more is revealed.I preferred Ruth’s story by a long way. Her tragic childhood and then her experiences at the hands of her employers were eye-opening. More so, because I felt that this was an accurate account of what it would have been like for many. Some of the things that happened to her I had to research myself. I had heard of them but not by the names they were known in the book.It took me longer to warm to Dorothea. I did have sympathy but at times I found her selfish and condescending. But with her family background and the way she was controlled by her father it got easier to understand her. At times she seemed cold and a little bitter but then I could see a softer side as well. If she was allowed to do what interested her and be with who she wanted she would probably have been completely different.At times it was creepy but not as much as I expected. Most of the time I thought Ruth’s ‘talent’ was in her head apart from certain events that did happen. I did guess at some of the eventual outcome but there was one part I didn’t see coming and it was one of the better finales in books I have read this year. That much, I read the last chapter again.I read this book as serialised fiction via pigeonhole so I would like to thank both them and the publisher for the copy received.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is a brilliant novel, inspired by a real case from the 18th century, but set in the 19th century. Ruth Butterham, just 16 years old, is being held in prison for murder. There, young, wealthy do-gooder Dorothea, only 25 herself, visits her to see if she can be redeemed. Dorothea, whose mother died when she was young, is trying to avoid being married off by her father, as she's secretly engaged to a policeman and is obsessed with the 'science' of phrenology. But can Ruth's tale, of poverty, d This is a brilliant novel, inspired by a real case from the 18th century, but set in the 19th century. Ruth Butterham, just 16 years old, is being held in prison for murder. There, young, wealthy do-gooder Dorothea, only 25 herself, visits her to see if she can be redeemed. Dorothea, whose mother died when she was young, is trying to avoid being married off by her father, as she's secretly engaged to a policeman and is obsessed with the 'science' of phrenology. But can Ruth's tale, of poverty, death, suicide and murder really be true? Does Ruth, a seamstress, really have a supernatural power to wreak havoc with her needle, or is she deluded? Or is she a murderer of a more common variety? The story of this book is bleak and powerful, as it highlights the abject poverty and exploitation of the poor in Victorian society, with echoes of Dickens. It's also a gripping crime novel with a twisty plot and plenty of surprises. Great stuff!
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  • Orláith
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted at https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn1re9_lyqF/I'm dumbfounded.I don't know what to say about this book other than 'wow'. I've been asked who my favourite author is many, many times yet each time I've been unable to choose. That changes now.Last year I read and adored The Silent Companions so much that I didn't know how Laura could top it with her next book. But she did.The Corset is simply wonderful. I loved the pacing, the setting, the characters, the plot, and most of all the wr Originally posted at https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn1re9_lyqF/I'm dumbfounded.I don't know what to say about this book other than 'wow'. I've been asked who my favourite author is many, many times yet each time I've been unable to choose. That changes now.Last year I read and adored The Silent Companions so much that I didn't know how Laura could top it with her next book. But she did.The Corset is simply wonderful. I loved the pacing, the setting, the characters, the plot, and most of all the writing.This book hasn't been published yet and I'm already dying to read her next novel, Bone China!Thank you so much to Raven @bloomsburypublishing for sending me a signed ARC of The Corset!
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