Title: The Corset
Author: Laura Purcell
Genre: Fiction/historical fiction/mystery Pages: 392
First published: 2018
Edition: Hardback, published by Raven Books in 2018
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.
I simply adored the writing of this novel. Despite the fact that I read it at a time I had little space for reading in my day, I looked forward to returning to its pages.
This is a great example of a historical fiction novel that felt well thought out and researched without feeling forced. It is set in the Victorian era and is told from the perspective of two young women, one practically a slave in a mad dressmaker’s household, one a well-to-do 25-year-old spinster trying to find her way in life (and love).
The duel perspective worked very well and I thought both of them were very well done. I felt for the characters and was suitably appalled by the story woven in these pages.
I love how you are not quite sure what to think of seamstress Ruth, but how her harrowing story still pulls at the heart strings. The thread of Dorothea is slightly less strong in parts, but I absolutely loved her spirit.
I was not sure about the ending at first, but after having thought about it, I definitely think it was fitting.
If you enjoy a historical novel or even a mystery novel, I would highly recommend this book. I will be checking out this author’s other work.
6 out of 7 stars