The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions sees a teenage seamstress convinced she can control people's fates through the clothes she makes for them…
Dorothea and Ruth. Ruth and Dorothea.
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 is asked to visit Ruth as part of her charitable works, she could not be more delighted. Her first encounter with a murderer will provide the perfect opportunity to explore Dorothea's fascination with phrenology, and test her theories that the shape of a person's skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes.
But the story Ruth has to tell – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and destruction – will shake Dorothea's belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.
Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?
About the Author
Laura Purcell is a former bookseller, she lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Her first novel for Bloomsbury, The Silent Companions , was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, was selected for the Zoe Ball ITV Book Club and was the winner of the Thumping Good Read Award.
A compelling slice of early Victorian gothic ... Vivid and well researched, this book is an evocative portrait of a society that punishes women who dare to contravene social norms ... as well as a splendid mystery with suitably melodramatic flourishes * Guardian *
The Silent Companions was a chillingly note-perfect take on Victorian gothic and [Purcell] makes a brilliant return to the genre with this much-anticipated tale ... Heart-pounding ... A classic Victorian tale of murder most foul, twisted with a curious supernatural thread * Stylist *
The Corset [sent] chills shooting down my spine ... Nods to the classic gothic novel and Sarah Waters's Affinity * Red *
This gothic chiller casts an addictive spell * Sunday Mirror *
Intricate, atmospheric and chilling - with a wonderfully dark premise at its heart * Woman & Home *
Phantasmic thrills ... A true page-turner ... Neatly crafted and compelling ... The story ticks along at a good pace, with a spine-tingling revelation every few pages * Times Literary Supplement *
[A] thrilling, chilling Gothic tale ... [A] deliciously dark mystery * Psychologies *
Chilling ... All but the most cynical will find it hard to stop turning the pages * Observer *
The Silent Companions was a gothic masterpiece and The Corset follows with confidence ... 16-year-old Ruth is on trial for murder but finds herself on the receiving end of Dorothea Truelove's charitable ministrations ... their joint narrative twists and turns, leading readers to the most haunting of endings * Emerald Street *
Deliciously creepy and atmospheric with a gripping plot, this book will disturb your sleep. And I didn't see THAT ending coming -- Sarah J. Harris, author of 'The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder'
Purcell's tale brilliantly captures the restricted lives of Victorian women, while pitting magical thinking against scientific rationale * Mail on Sunday *
The Corset is a contender for my Book of the Year. Ruth and Dorothea will live in my mind for a long time. Beautifully written, intricately plotted, a masterpiece -- Sarah Hilary
She's done it again. More macabre magnificence from Laura Purcell - intricately stitched together like one of seamstress Ruth's terrifying creations. The Corset will have you crushed within its vice. Brilliant' -- Anna Mazzola
An intriguing premise deftly executed, The Corset is genuinely thrilling -- Elizabeth Haynes
A romping read with a deliciously dark conceit at its centre. Reminded me of Alias Grace. A worthy successor to The Silent Companions -- Kiran Millwood Hargrave
With the skill of a born story teller Laura Purcell has crafted a tale as intricate and flawless as Ruth's stitches. By turns horrifying and humorous, The Corset is a darkly compelling, unsettling and fascinating book, where pseudo-science meets needlework in the most chilling and unexpected ways ... The Corset is the very best kind of gothic fiction. Reminiscent of Sarah Waters and Margaret Atwood, but uniquely and unmistakably Laura Purcell -- ES Thomson
The Corset is a sharp-edged, emotionally freighted mystery, rooted in the pitch-black darkness of Victorian poverty. An intriguing, page-turning gothic tale of murder and the supernatural -- Sophia Tobin
Praise for The Silent Companions: 'A sinister slice of Victorian gothic ... Creepy and page-turning * The Times *
A perfect read for a winter night ... An intriguing, nuanced and genuinely eerie slice of Victorian gothic * Guardian *
This intriguingly plotted novel is the full-blown gothic, maintaining throughout an unsettling claustrophobic atmosphere mixed with some unusual historical detail * Daily Mail *
The nights are drawing in, low mists hang over the ground... What you really need is something to terrify the bejeezus out of you. And Laura Purcell has nailed it with a story that conjures up Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, Henry James's The Turn of The Screw and a little bit of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier * Emerald Street *
Irresistibly creepy, this romps along, Purcell turning her screws with skill. It's what crumpets and dismal afternoons were made for * Glamour *