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The Corset

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  8,151 ratings  ·  1,221 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
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published September 20th 2018 by Raven Books
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Laura Purcell
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Lauren Conrad 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)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  8,151 ratings  ·  1,221 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’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
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
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
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

A beautifully deductive Victorian chiller from the author of The Silent Companions.

Captivating and intriguing and a book that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning.

I love gothic fiction and Laura Purcell is now my queen of Gothic fiction.

Dorothea Truelove is young wealthy and beautiful, Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder. The two women’s paths cross when Dorothea charitable works takes her to Oakgate Prison where she finds herself intrigued by Rut
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tenor of this novel is one of menace and foreboding as two women’s lives intersect at a prison. One is a prisoner and accomplished seamstress whose tools of her trade may include the monstrous ability to commit murder and the other is a privileged woman of breeding with a penchant for phrenology. Both are young but neither are particularly decent people. There is anguish, abuse and injustice between these pages. The Poison Thread out-gothics the gothic novel.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook of The Corset and it worked well in that format. The narrator had a pleasant voice which never intruded yet made it quite clear which character was speaking. And there was plenty of interest and anticipation in the story to hold the listener's attention at all times.

It was a great story told from the points of view of two main characters, both young women, but from the opposing ends of Victorian society. Dorothea, overprotected and naïve is twenty five years old and l
Richard (on hiatus)
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
Umut Rados
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
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Gothic and Victorian in every inch. Two women, Dorothea and Ruth, as different as they may be, come to learn more of each other and themselves and the same time. The circumstances in which they meet are unusual, yet their fondeness grows as their friendship progresses.
I will be more than surprised if there is a book by Ms Purcell that I will rate with one star.
*TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)
Thank you to Penguin Books who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

I was tipped off of this gothic murder mystery by my Goodreads friend Mary Beth, who knew I had enjoyed this author's previous offering " The Silent Companions". I enjoyed this book equally, if not more!

The book takes place in England during a period when chamber pots are still used for bathroom trips and women wear whalebone corsets. There is also the spector of the debtor's prison when you can't pay your bills.

This st
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen year old milliner suffers in not-so-merry old England

This novel is even more wonderful than The Silent Companions, the first book I read by Laura Purcell. You are drawn in and empathize greatly with her characters, especially, poor, plain Ruth. When her story begins, at age twelve, she has been beaten and reviled by her snooty classmates, nasty girls one and all. Her family can't help her; her poor mother works taking in sewing, but it does little to help their genteel poverty, as her f
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
I read Laura Purcell's The Silent Companions last year and I adored it so I was thrilled to get an ARC of her newest novel, The Poison Thread.

We have two women from very different social classes: Dorothea Truelove who is wealthy and likes to visit women's prisons to help them repent before dying and poor 16 year old murderess, Ruth Butterham, who claims to be able to kill people with her sewing skills.

The chapters alternate between Dorothea and Ruth. Ruth's chapters highlight what her life was
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
At first glance, this appeared to be an ordinary Victorian book about a young socialite, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, with far too much time on her hands yet no interest in the usual coquetries of society. She was studying phrenology, a popular belief at the time that the skull could predict behavior and be re-shaped to alter such. Although we may sneer at this now, it was the precursor of modern behavioral science. As part of her "studies" and her desire for good works, also a very Victo ...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
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
A gothic, Victorian novel full of mystery and twists, and it was very good. The story moves between two points of view. Dorothea Truelove is a young woman who visits prisons as part of her charity ethic. In Oakgate prison she meets 16yo Ruth Butterham, accused of murder, a fine seamstress who believes her every stitch imparts her emotions into the garment thereby inflicting harm on the wearer. Slowly she tells her story to Miss Truelove. Dorothea believes strongly in phrenology so she likes meas ...more
Janie C.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing story about two very different women in the Victorian era. Chapters alternate between two points of view: Dorothea is well off and privileged, while Ruth is destitute and jailed for a murder she may or may not have committed. Personally, I was immersed in Ruth's grueling story and was anxious to get to the heart of her situation. Dorothea's strong belief in phrenology and her inability take responsibility for her own life irked me. Tensions mount as more information is revealed abo ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gothic
Death by embroidery? Really? This is a gothic and menacing offering from the author of The Silent Companions (which I quite enjoyed). It is pure Victoriana and is well written and well told. The settings are pure Dickens with some typical prison and sweat shop scenes.
There are two main characters. Dorothea Truelove (yes really) is an heiress who is unmarried and in her 20s. She does good works and is very much persuaded by phrenology and believes that the shape of the skull can give clues about
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
Barbara K
Gothic is one of those genres to which I have limited exposure and ambivalent feelings. I may be just too finicky - I need that frisson of fear, but I don't want to be horrified to the point where I close the book and walk away and maybe don't sleep well that night.

As a result I don't seek out gothic novels, but occasionally I will read a review that piques my curiosity enough that I decide to give it a try. That was certainly a good decision in the case of this book.

Dorothea Truelove is a 25 y
This is my second Purcell novel, and after finishing The Corset today, I'm definitely hungry for more of her fiction! This was a disturbing read, that just asks to be read with the lights on. Purcell is masterful in her way of enticing the reader, and reeling them in with words that haunt.

I love the way Purcell captures the atmosphere of the Victoriana period, and the descriptions of how women were treated in those times seems accurate. The characters are wonderfully built, and you really feel
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbr-wishlist
I loved this! It’s everything you want from a Victorian gothic! Full of suspense and atmosphere! Dark and twisted and completely immersive! It’s similar to Alias Grace but with a better ending! 😉
Britta Böhler
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not quite as brilliant as The Silent Companions, and also not as 'spooky' (more a straight forward murder mystery than a spooky story) but still a very enjoyable read.
3.5* rounded up.
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
Stephanie Nicholas
This was, in a word, rather boring. It received high praise from authors and publications alike. I found it interesting subject matter and continued to press on hoping some kind of parapatia would occur for the main character, Ruth, whose story we follow per her narration. None occured. It was interesting in parts, with her life as a seamstress in Victorian England. Mainly, it was a bit of a filabuster really.
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
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You could catergorize this as an Victorian era gothic chiller or even a historical thriller. There are strong undercurrents of mystery. This is one original plot, I give applause to the author. The blurb sounds odd, but this is really an exciting and intriguing read. I just could not put it down, I highly recommend. If I say any more, it would give spoilers. Don't let the blurb put you off, the plot works magnificently. ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Corset by Laura Purcell. (2018).

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, a
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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. Other Gothic novels include THE CORSET (THE POISON THREAD in USA), BONE CHINA and THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS (2020)

Laura’s historical fiction about

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“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.” 3 likes
“I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, miss. Charitable people like yourself saved my life. But I wish they’d thought a bit more about what I was to do with it, once it was safe.” 2 likes
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