The Corset by Laura Purcell. (2018).
**4 out of 5 stars**
Dorothea is a young, wealthy and beautiful woman who visits prisoners as charitable work. She also practises phrenology on them (the theory that a person’s skull shape can indicate their character). Ruth is a teenage seamstress accused of murder and believes she has a supernatural power in which she causes death by her sewing.
As Ruth tells her story she will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and cause her to wonder if Ruth is mad, a murderer, or can she be trusted…
This book was different to the type of books I normally read and I really enjoyed it. A Victorian gothic horror novel; it was intriguing. Did Ruth really kill people with her sewing or was it all coincidental? Read the book and find out – your thoughts may vary throughout this almost 400 page novel. The plot is told in dual storylines with Dorothea’s focusing on the current situation and Ruth’s telling her story leading up until her arrest. I was quite drawn into both but was particularly interested in Ruth’s. Trigger warning – Ruth and others in her story suffer cruel abuse/events at points; I felt it was necessary, made sense for the story and implied rather than graphically described. An unexpected ending was a well done finish if not slightly abrupt and left some strings hanging for me. This book was an original clever story that enthralled me from beginning to end.