Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Corset” as Want to Read:
The Corset
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Corset

by
4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,258 ratings  ·  264 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published September 20th 2018 by Raven Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Corset, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lauren It will be published in the US as an ebook and (I assume) a US paperback under the title, The Poison Thread, on June 18th 2019. Right now you can get…moreIt will be published in the US as an ebook and (I assume) a US paperback under the title, The Poison Thread, on June 18th 2019. Right now you can get it as a paperback from third party sellers on Amazon.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Laura Purcell
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,258 ratings  ·  264 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Amalia Gavea
‘’Perhaps I do have the liberty to come and go as I please. But I do not attend for my own amusement. I came for you. To offer some comfort.’’

Jesus Christ, this book...Where do I begin? After the outstanding The Silent Companions, Laura Purcell creates a story that is dark, haunting, atmospheric, mysterious and complex. So different to his successful predecessor and yet equally powerful and agonizingly intense.
The Corset will surely enter the lists of the best reads of 2018, arriving just in t
...more
Kylie D
I really wanted to read this book after I came across the blurb, and the reality certainly didn't disappoint. The narrative is shared by two young women in Victorian England, Dorothea, a wealthy heiress, and Ruth, a seamstress imprisoned for the murder of her mistress. Dorothea has an interest in phrenology, the study of peoples skulls to see if they have a propensity for murder among other things, and when she comes across Ruth during a charitable visit to the local gaol, she can't help but try ...more
Debra
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This book had my attention from the get-go! I loved the synopsis: Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain? I knew this book would be pretty much up my alley and it was! But what does that say about my alley? It's dark and twisted folks!

Doretha "Dotty" Truelove (let's, for a minute, admire her last name!), is a young woman from a "good home" Her mother died when she was young, and she has been raised by her father. "Dotty" is a smart and inquisitive young woman wh
...more
Umut Reviews
This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, after reading and loving Silent Companions. Unfortunately it fell short of her previous one.
I really think Purcell is a talented writer with her atmospheric historical settings, creative plots, ability to raise tension. However, she couldn't escape certain pitfalls in this book that some writers often do.
The Corset was also a Gothic story like Silent Companions with 2 protagonists Ruth and Dotty with intercepting lives. I don't want to
...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
The Corset was a long awaited book for me, after devouring Silent Companions , and I feel extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to read this earlier.

I wish I could say I liked this book as much as SC but sadly this isn't the case. In general, there is no doubt that Purcell is a skillful story teller and she's done an extensive research to take us back to the times the book is in. However there are some major problems in The Corset that let me down.

***After This point, my review contains sp
...more
Richard
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-uk
The Corset is a ‘gothic’ novel by Laura Purcell set in Victorian England.
Gothic is a term I had never really questioned before. Out of interest I looked up several definitions of Gothic Literature. Most definitions feature the traits ‘fear, horror, death, gloom and sometimes romance’. These sum up this book pretty well!
The Corset isn’t a light Victorian pastiche, in fact at times it is graphically violent and bleak. There are grotesque plot twists and a pervading feeling impending doom. The desc
...more
Emma
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
If bad things stared happening to everyone around you, to each and every person you stitched clothing for, it's inevitable that you'd start to wonder whether it might somehow, in some crazy way, be your fault. Maybe you're jinxed. Maybe your hatred and anger and despair somehow infected the material, maybe your bad luck rubs off. Or maybe you did it on purpose? Maybe, if you tried, you could do it again...

So goes the tale of Ruth Butterham, in prison for murder, her confession of guilt meaning t
...more
Hannah
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction
I got retroactive FOMO for Laura Purcell’s novel The Silent Companions because everybody seemed to be raving about it, so I knew I needed to read this one. Especially because it focuses on two women, one of them being a prisoner on trial for murder. I love books featuring unapologetically difficult women and Ruth and Dorothea definitely fit the bill.

Dorothea Truelove is a young, unmarried woman, with plenty of suitors who would rather spend her time doing charity work (do not take her to be a ki
...more
Liz Barnsley
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My gosh, The Corset was such a cool, edgy and randomly horrifying tale, such descriptive beauty to be found here wrapped around a story that is both scary and entirely emotive.
Dorothea visits women in jail – she is sensible, pragmatic and intelligent, using the visits to gain knowledge for her scientific research. But when she meets Ruth, whose life has been dark and twisted, who believes she holds within her a terrible power, Dorothea slowly begins to question all that she once believed..
I love
...more
Sara
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Like a lot of people, I went into this book having enjoyed the author's previous novel: The Silent Companions, and I was looking forward to another gothic horror filled with suspense. This didn’t quite manage to reach the same atmospheric heights as its predecessor, but what I got instead was an interesting historical horror of another kind.

The Corset is centred around two women, Dorothea Truelove and Ruth Butterham. One, a rich a
...more
Blair
Dorothea Truelove (yes, really) is a wealthy young woman who regularly visits female prisoners. While she frames this practice as charity, her true obsession is phrenology. She’s convinced that if she can only find the right subject, her theories about the connections between head shape and character will be proven right, and the women of New Oakgate Prison are the perfect guinea pigs. However, time is running out: Dorothea is 25, and her father is determined to marry her off as soon as possible ...more
Callum McLaughlin
An intricately plotted and thematically rich gothic chiller; this was just the kind of read I was in the mood for.

As with the best of its genre, there is an undercurrent of mystery and threat that brews throughout. In this case, it centres around whether or not we can trust Ruth Butterham, a 16-year-old seamstress accused of murder, who claims to possess some kind of supernatural ability. Is she telling the truth; is she lying; or is she simply mad? And perhaps more importantly, if she is a kill
...more
Caz
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aar, arc, mystery-thriller
I've given this a B at AAR.

Laura Purcell first came to my attention as the author of a couple of very fine pieces of historical fiction, and earlier this year, I awarded her fabulous, spooky supernatural/gothic mystery The Silent Companions DIK status at AAR  and gushed about it to everyone who crossed my path!  I’ve been waiting eagerly to read her next novel The Corset, another mystery set in Victorian England, this time, featuring two very different women who are brought together in the gloom
...more
Cora Tea Party Princess
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 Words: Power, control, family, betrayal, love.

Content Warnings: Child abuse, difficult pregnancy, graphic violence.

Book Review: The Corset by Laura Purcell

I'd read a few reviews prior to picking up The Corset, so I was ready for a dark book. Or so I thought. But The Corset was far darker than I had imagined.

The writing and the story are addictive. I could not put this book down. The story is told by Dorothea's present narrative and Ruth's reflection on her past as she tells her story. I have t
...more
Emma
Excellent.
Evie Braithwaite
Purcell has already proven herself victorious when it comes down to the gothic genre with her debut novel, The Silent Companions. Her follow-up, a creepy Victorian thriller, is just as enthralling.

As with her debut, Purcell employs interweaving narratives to tell her chilling story. The Corset depicts the juxtaposing lives of two young women who sit at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Dorothea Truelove is a well-off, beautiful lady, who refutes all her father’s attempts at having her marrie
...more
Vanessa Wild
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A creepy, gothic Victorian novel told from the viewpoints of two very different women, Dorothea Truelove and Ruth Butterham. Dorothea comes from a wealthy family, has a fascination for the shape of people’s heads and visits female criminals in prison as part of her charity works.. One such female is Ruth who is awaiting trial for murder and who believes she has caused deaths via her sewing, a supernatural force.

This is a dark and atmospheric tale with disturbing and ominous undertones. There are
...more
Leah
Oct 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Halfway through, haven’t picked it up for two days and feel depressed every time I think of trying to read on, so I’m stopping.

The writing’s fine – not brilliant, but fine. The characterisation is pretty poor, especially of Dorothea, whose voice never rings true. However the reason I'm abandoning it is because, for me, horror rests in the mysterious, the vague, the psychological, sometimes the macabre, not in detailed descriptions of blood-soaked childbirth-gone-wrong scenes, or gruesome descrip
...more
Catherine
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"At what point do we cease to be merciful, and become fools?"

I absolutely loved The Silent Companions and knew I had to read this other novel by Laura Purcell. The premise of The Corset is reminding of Sarah Water's Affinity and in another way of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, two great novels by amazing authors. Once again, Laura Purcell delivers a book with this Victorian gothic atmosphere that I love so much. I love the author's writing, I love the way she creates a story, an ambiance, an atm
...more
Sally Boocock
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly well deserved 5 stars goes to Laura Purcell for this gripping novel. After reading the Silent Companions I wondered how she could top it but this novel was absolutely amazing. Telling the story of Ruth Butterham who is in prison for murder. She is visited by Dororthea Truelove who tries to discover whether Ruth is guilty or not. Is it possible to kill with a needle and thread or is Ruth a victim or murderer?The story of these two women who both have their secrets slowly unfolds to ...more
Aoife
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from the publishers/author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ruth Butterham is awaiting her hanging in a women's jail, and is pretty secure in her crime. When rich do-gooder, Dorothea Truelove visits Ruth with an aim to study phrenology and use Ruth as a test subject, she ends up finding out the real truth behind Ruth's crimes, and the strange power with needle and thread that Ruth believes she wields. But is Ruth just a poor girl framed for murder, or does she
...more
Kate
I do enjoy Laura Purcell's writing and this is another creepy Gothic tale, although not as frightening as The Silent Companions. I love Ruth and it's the parts of the book that tell her story, in Ruth's own words, that I'll remember the most. A very hard book to put down although there is one graphically gruesome scene early on that I had to overcome. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Karen Mace
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
I adored Silent Companions last year and that despite the fact that I normally don't read spooky books. Needless to say that I had high expectations for this one and although I think this is a very decent read, it did not live up to my expectations and also - in my mind - to SC.

The story is told from two characters POV and this can often be a challenge in a novel, especially, when one character has a much better, more intriguing storyline than the other. Dorothea's storyline was for me very wea
...more
MaryannC.Book Fiend
This was an achingly tragic, sad and haunting read, that's still lingering with me as I think about it. Laura Purcell did a great job with this one following the success of "The Silent Companions" which was an eerie, goose bump inducing read that had to be read with the lights on. In "The Corset" Ruth Butterham is a young woman whose life is marred by continual tragedy with first, the loss of a baby sister and then her father whose emotional weakness ultimately plays a part in Ruth being sold in ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I'd give this 6 stars if I could, and with 4 reading weeks left in the year, I'm also fairly certain The Corset by Laura Purcell is going to be my No 1. favourite book of the year.

An historical fiction novel, The Corset is essentially a Victorian gothic thriller. Told in alternating chapters by two female narrators, Dorothea is a wealthy and charitable woman with an interest in phrenology, and Ruth is a prisoner awaiting trial for murder.

Dorothea visits Ruth in prison with the intention of measu
...more
Lucy
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, read-in-2018
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Laura Purcell is definitely my new favourite author. The Corset wasn't quite as good as The Silent Companions and it was a lot more difficult to read at times but I still loved it! I was hooked throughout and didn't want to put it down.
michelle
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Corset is another beautifully written Gothic thriller by Laura Purcell. I have read her first novel The Silent companions, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of this.
The story is set in Victorian England about two women. Dorothea Truelove, a wealthy woman who is on the committee of New Oakgate Prison. Who spends her time visiting the inmates in prison and then there is Ruth Butterham, 16-year-old seamstress who has an exceptional talent. She is on trial for murder. The two women are poles a
...more
Beadyjan
WOW - brilliant, loved every word of this ravishing historical thriller.

I do wish I hadn't read this book!! Only because I'm pretty darned certain it's going to such a hard act to follow that I'm going to find each and every new book I pick up for months, lacking in comparison and I'm saddened and green with envy that everyone who is yet to read this, still has it's delights to look forward to.

The description had me chomping at the bit, the cover had me swooning and I KNEW without doubt that i
...more
Lisa
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having enjoyed Laura Purcell's previous offering, The Silent Companions, I was eager to delve into this, her newest release. Although quite different from the aforementioned Companions, I enjoyed this just as much, if not a tiny bit more.

The story is set in Victorian England and centres around two women from very different social backgrounds. The younger and poorer of the two, Ruth, is in prison for murder. Her opposite number, Dorothea, is a wealthy do gooder who visits women in jail in order
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Glass Woman
  • House of Glass
  • Blackberry and Wild Rose
  • The Wicked Cometh
  • The Way of All Flesh
  • The Coffin Path
  • A House of Ghosts
  • The Doll Factory
  • The Poison Bed
  • The Petticoat Men
  • The Lost Village (The Ghost Hunters, #2)
  • The Crow Garden
  • The Story Keeper
  • The Haunting of Henry Twist
  • The Wild Air
  • The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction
  • The Illumination of Ursula Flight
  • A Fatal Likeness (Charles Maddox #3)
546 followers
Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

Her first novel for Raven Books THE SILENT COMPANIONS won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. It will be followed by THE CORSET in September 2018.

Laura’s historical fiction novels about the Hanoverian monarchs, QUEEN OF BEDLAM (2014) and
...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“That's why Ma took in piecework and flowering from Mrs Metyard: to keep us afloat. Pa always used that term, afloat. And it seemed to me Pa did float - he kept his head above the water and painted his pictures. Beneath was Ma, kicking through dirt and reeds.” 0 likes
“But instead I shared the fate of all girls who are poor of pocket: I was tied to my work, like a needle tethered by thread.” 0 likes
More quotes…