#BookReview Bone China by Laura Purcell @BloomsburyRaven #BoneChina

ABOUT THE BOOK

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last. 

PUBLISHED by RAVEN BOOKS

Publication Date  – 19th September 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK  £10.53

hive.co.uk  £9.39

whsmith  £8.99

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £12.99

MY REVIEW

Gloriously gothic and deliciously dark – it’s fair to say that I loved reading this and I will never look at a piece of willow patterned china the same way ever again!!

Bone China is a story set over 2 timelines and it’s a fascinating mix of history, folklore, obsession, madness and superstition.  There are many threads throughout that I found so absorbing and I loved how the story went backwards and forwards to give you different glimpses of the characters and to watch it all come together at the end was extremely satisfying!

We start with Hester Why as she travels to Cornwall to take up a position looking after Louise Pinecroft who is confined to her home and rarely speaks.  Hester is obviously trying to escape her past for whatever reason, but she soon finds that her present may be just as dangerous as what she left behind.

If she’s looking for isolation then the home of Louise Pinecroft might be just the place for her!  There’s chatter amongst the staff at Morvoren House and she has warning of who to avoid and also the folklore that outsiders may dismiss as nonsense but those living there are more wary.  With the almost mute Louise spending the majority of her time staring at the bone china colllection in her room, Hester finds the past playing more and more on her mind and her reliance of self medicating becomes the only way to get through each day.

The story then looks back on Louise in the past, living at the house with her father who was a Doctor, and he sets out on a revolutionary way of treating patients with consumption.  It’s a fascinating look at life of a different time, and using prisoners at his ‘guineapigs’ was the only way he could get permission to try his methods out.   Having lost his family to the disease he was driven to the point of obsession to try and eradicate it.

And with Hester we get to see her life before her move, and her devotion to her mistress Lady Rose, new wife of Sir Arthur Windrop, whose mother ruled the roost and Lady Rose found herself becoming more reliant on Hester as nothing she ever did was good enough for his mother.  Hester was smitten and found herself giving more advice to Lady Rose that others didn’t appreciate so much and wanted to find a way to ease her out of the picture – and Hester took to alcohol there too to numb the pain and sadness she felt when things didn’t go her way.

As Hester settles into life looking after Louise, a number of other stories open up not least the strange things that are happening around the room of Louise and the influence that certain staff have on the daily goings on at the house.  It all felt very unsettling and it was brilliantly played out with every new twist and turn.

It seemed to me that the author had so much fun with these characters and settings!  Her imagination ran wild with the folklore elements and it was equally exciting and terrifying as to where the story was going to go!  

This is a  book that chilled and thrilled me and I loved every single minute!  Fabulous!!

★★★★★

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#BookReview The Corset by Laura Purcell #PublicationDay #TheCorset

About the book

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?

Published by Bloomsbury

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

Waterstones

Goldsboro Books – signed edition

MY REVIEW

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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The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell #BookReview

THE BLURB

Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

Published by  Raven Books

BUYING LINKS

About the Author

A former Waterstones bookseller, Laura is now a full time author of chilling Gothic fiction. Her ghost story THE SILENT COMPANIONS was published by Bloomsbury Raven in October 2017 and will be followed by THE CORSET in 2018.

Laura has also blogged extensively about the Hanoverian monarchy. Her biopic novels QUEEN OF BEDLAM and MISTRESS OF THE COURT are the first in a series covering the lives and loves of the Georgian era queens.

Twitter – @spookypurcell

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a stunning, chilling read then look no further! I was drawn to this by the exquisite cover – it’s beautiful – and the story inside was just as beautiful in the most creepy, unsettling manner! It’s one of those books that makes you sleep with one eye open and noticing anything out of place.. did I really leave that cupboard open? I don’t remember putting that there……. seriously spooky!!

This book is set in the 1600’s and 1800’s and centres around a mansion named The Bridge, and features two women – Elsie who is in an asylum unable to speak as she recovers from a traumatic event, and Anne whose diary we read from back in the 1600’s when the Silent Companions are introduced to the household. The Dr at the asylum is completely fascinated by Elsie and her silence and gets her to write down what she can’t say and this is when we get to ‘hear’ her story of what happened after she ended up living at The Bridge after the death of her husband. The distressing events that then follow her time living there are expertly crafted and written in such a way that you are experiencing the isolation, the fear, the terror and every alarming event with the character. 

Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company when she moves to The Bridge. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself… Even the locals are wary of the house so refuse to work there and Elsie wants to try and understand why there is such fear of her new home. The events she witnesses leave her wondering if she is losing her mind but help explain the terror of those living nearby.

As the pasts of both characters reveal disturbing events you are often unsure how the story will play out, and there were a number of shocking twists that took my breath away! I’m not normally a big fan of spooky stories (yes I’m a wimp!) , but this was so well written and beautifully set out that I was gripped and I loved the dark vibes and the many creepy moments!

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