The Corset – Book Review

Talking of reading, I have been on holiday at the beach this week and have been absolutely hooked by a book I brought with me while chilling out on the balcony overlooking the waves! I just finished it and want to chat about it!

Dorothea meets Ruth on her charitable visits to the local prison, where the young woman is awaiting trial for murder. She listens to Ruth as she talks of her life and recounts the events that led up to her current situation. Much to her confusion, she is faced with a new theory that opposes the science she believes in: could Ruth have used an unnatural power as she sewed to kill her victim? Or is she mad?

lovingly mark these up. I will share with you one such extract I just flipped to now:

‘Dark, cavernous holes gape where the eyes once were. Inside lies a white-grey cave. The thoughts and fears that echoed are gone. No tumult, no strife remains, only bone. How trivial our mortal cares are, when all is said and done.’ (page 57)

This book is told from each woman’s perspective, one having a chapter or two, followed by the other’s point of view in the next. I always enjoy this style of narrative, and it was done well. I did find at times I enjoyed Ruth’s points of view more, but I feel that this is reasonably inevitable. All the characters are well developed and multifaceted. They are interesting and complex, and even the unlikable ones drew me in and compelled me to learn their stories.

This novel pulled me in straight away and I was eager to return to it every time I put it down. The mystery aspect is done very well. Towards the end, I could not read fast enough, and as I type, I am feeling a tad sleepy after a late night of reading! Also, the focus on life as a seamstress and the study of phrenology added topics that were unique and interesting.

There is a Margaret Atwood-vibe, so if you enjoy that dark, suspense style of writing, I definitely recommend this novel. That said, I recommend this to anyone who wants a book that holds you and opens your eyes to what life was like for many people in the 1800s. It is a great blend of historical, gothic and suspense fiction, and has made me keen to read more gothic fiction (a genre I have not explored in depth). I also am keen to read more of Laura Purcell’s books. Have you read any of her others?

I urge you to give this one a go! I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.