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.
...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.