The latest book reviews in one place

The Corset Reviews

The Corset by Laura Purcell

The Corset

Laura Purcell

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Raven Books
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 20 Sep 2018
ISBN: 9781408889619

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain? 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 finds herself drawn to Ruth, a teenage seamstress - and self-confessed murderess - who nurses a dark and uncanny secret.

3 stars out of 5
8 Jan 2019

"her refusal to allow us to look away is thrilling"

The Corset becomes stranger (and better) as it progresses, and by the last third the clumsy exposition at its beginning is mostly forgiven... Her refusal to allow us to look away is thrilling... There is some depth here, but if you are searching for a coherent feminist, political or sociological subtext in The Corset, you may have to squint. If the novel achieves one thing absolutely, it is that it becomes compelling enough to disarm our rationality long enough so that we become invested in a historical story about a corset, and a damaged young woman, with an agenda.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Laura Wilson
21 Sep 2018

"a compelling slice of early Victorian gothic"

...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 – Ruth’s mother has suffered appallingly as a consequence of marrying against her family’s wishes – as well as a splendid mystery with suitably melodramatic flourishes.