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

The House of Whispers

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  959 ratings  ·  230 reviews
A new gothic Victorian tale from Laura Purcell, set on the atmospheric Cornish coast in a rambling house by the sea in which a maid cares for a mute old woman with a mysterious past, alongside her superstitious staff.

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary
Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: June 9th 2020 by Penguin Books (first published September 19th 2019)
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 House of Whispers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The House of Whispers

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  959 ratings  ·  230 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The House of Whispers
Amalia Gavea
''This is the bitterest winter I can recall. Too cold, even for snow. A world washed innocent and white might bring me some comfort, but no - this is the season of sleet and gunmetal skies. Everything is grey and cold. It is like purgatory, like my heart.''

A heavy winter in Cornwall. Frost, mist. Silence. Icy tears on the windowpanes, the murmur of the tireless sea, the silence in a house where the past walks, rattling heavy chains. Two women. Hester Why, escaping from a dangerous position,
Laura Purcell writes another of her well written and atmospheric trademark gothic historical novels set in a isolated house, Morvoren House, on the Cornish coastline that goes back and forth in time. Hester Why is running away from her post as a lady's maid in London, a situation of which we learn much more later. She has changed her name as she arrives in Cornwall at Morvoren House to help nurse the partially paralysed, almost mute Miss Louise Pinecroft. However, Hester just might well have ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
When I see a book by Laura Purcell now I snap it up instantly. I also know what to expect - something Victorian, gothic, slightly creepy, containing lots of accurate historical fact, well written and very enjoyable.

Bone China did not let me down. There was my much loved Cornwall which can indeed be a spooky place up on the moors and on the bleaker parts of the coast line. There was all the history of the time - the folklore, the strange to us medical practices, the china clay industry in earlier
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Bone China is the latest offering from gothic writer Laura Purcell, and follows multiple timelines and threads 40 years apart to weave a tale steeped in Cornish folklore with her traditional spooky writing style. I loved The Silent Companions, and was hoping for something with a similar atmospheric feel, but there’s just something missing here.

There no denying that Purcell can write, and write well. Her stories are always consumed
Umut Reviews
I think at this stage, we can say the only book I enjoyed from Purcell is The Silent Companions. The Corset was a miss being very crowded and having plot holes in it.
I was still excited for Bone China because I love her spooky, gothic writing style. Also, the history and atmosphere she contains in her books are amazing. I still find the historic and atmospheric quality of her books very strong. But, I just don't get along with her plots.
This one contained 3 different story lines very separate
A serviceable gothic novel stuffed with so many characters and subplots that it begins to trip up over itself... which probably makes it even more authentically gothic, I suppose. After leaving her previous role in disgrace, Esther Stevens has reinvented herself as 'Hester Why' and fled to the Cornish coast. Employed at a forbidding house named Morvoren, she finds herself tasked with caring for the near-mute Miss Pinecroft, whose household is dominated by her superstitious maid Creeda. ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A gothic novel based in Cornwall about two women Louise and Hester.
This story is told in two timelines 40 years apart.
I found the story creepy and strange.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Type: Standalone
POV: Shifting – First person & third person POV

Hester Why arrived in Cornwall with a hope for a fresh beginning as the new live-in nurse. Running from her troubled past, little did she know Morvoren House held its own secret, festering into the household in the last 40 years. As she tried to help them with the truth, she must toe it delicately or risked shattering everything she believed in.

This book turned out to be different than I
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Hester Why is exceedingly unlucky. Either that, or the kind of person who makes her own bad fortune. Fleeing from her position in London, she arrives at Morvoren House to find out that things might have gotten worse. Her troubles in the city, at least, had been human in nature; in the wilds of the Cornish coast, she might have attracted the attention of something much darker and more dangerous…

Although individually the three main threads of the book have all the ingredients for a good story,
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bone China marks the return of critically acclaimed writer Ms Purcell in a whole new gothic historical thriller which really packs a punch. Full of dark, disturbing elements and a spooky and almost claustrophobic atmosphere, we are treated to compulsively readable tale and one that is difficult to put down once it has you in its grasp. Set in Morvoren House, an isolated and eerie building standing alone on the stunning but often harsh Cornish coastline, we enter a world of myth, superstition and ...more
Joanna Smith
I enjoyed this book much more than ‘The Silent Companions’ and Laura Purcell is becoming a great historical novelist. The book is well researched and the characters are emotionally developed and intriguing. Four stars ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy, gothic, tragic, superstition, insanity: these are becoming the hallmark of a Laura Purcell story and long may it continue. Does belief in the local Cornish folklore make it true? This tale is saturated in folklore, fear, paranoia and dread. Hester Why is a misguided and sad character who seems only to want to be loved and needed- finally she finds a way to save one of her charges.
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Sadly an early DNF- so I don't think it'll be fair to score it.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and truly original.

I have read and loved The Silent Companions and The Corset, so I was really excited when I saw LP had a new book due out. Bone China continues LP’s reign as the new Queen of Gothic Fiction.
Set on the cliffs of Cornwall, the scene is set for Hester Why to join the staff in Morveron house, and within a very short timeframe things become increasingly odd. The book focuses on Hester’s story, and the medical experiments that took place in the cliffs under the
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Laura Purcell's first novel, The Silent Companions, and this certainly didn't disappoint. It's a spooky glory of the highest order. The setting of a sea-blasted, salt-crusted house on the Cornish cliffs is so atmospheric and creepy; I loved all the details about how bone china is made (no spoilers, though I would have liked a little more leaning-in to the horror of that at the end); and the emotional journey of the protagonist was intriguing. Already looking forward to Purcell's next!
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Purcell’s first Gothic novel, The Silent Companions, but was disappointed in the second, The Corset. Naturally, I was very curious about Bone China, her latest book, to see if it would recapture everything I loved about The Silent Companions. It absolutely did -- Bone China is a fantastic addition to
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another creepy offering from Laura Purcell that I perhaps didn't enjoy as much as her others. Happily I found much of my beloved gothic gloom to wallow in, mist, bleak cliffs, fairy folklore, superstition, fainting and fatal bouts of consumption abound, but the main character Esther/Hester, left me wanting. She was somewhat irritating and unlikeable (which is not necessarily a problem in itself) but her back story wasn't filled out enough. Events that had occurred in her life previously, were ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you NetGalley and Raven books for a copy of this book I was looking forward to reading Bone China as I loved her previous two books The Silent Companions and The Corset.
Set in Cornwall Hester Why is travelling to her new job in Morvoren House, after leaving her previously job abruptly. We learn more about why later in the story. When she helps someone as they just fallen off the carriage. She arrives at Morvoren house where she meets an eclectic group of people. The story also goes back 40
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, gothic
If you are looking for a creepy, sinister book to read this Halloween, look no further. Faeries, dark caves, floating lights, radical medical experiments, haunted houses, servants with shocking secrets, changelings and scary dolls. Yes yes yes!! This has it all.

Bone China is a character driven gothic tale of superstition, obsession and insanity. It is so dark and atmospheric and every page is filled with an unsettling, ominous foreboding. I was gripped and beguiled.

Thank you to Netgalley and
Joy  Finlayson
There were too many plots within this novel, all of which were therefore only half-developed, which made it largely unsatisfying. Had Purcell taken one or two key parts and crafted those into the story, it would have been really worthwhile. The author clearly has talent, just too many ideas for one novel on this occasion.
Sarah  Loves Books and tea
Bone China is a gothic historical novel set in Cornwall and written from the perspectives of two very different women 40 years apart. The first main character Hester works as a companion and carer to the mute and partially paralysed Miss Pinecroft in her very creepy house but in the alternate viewpoint we follow the young Miss Pinecroft when her family first move to Cornwall. I loved the very early chapters which explain why Hester is on the run from her previous employers and that was my ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this, up all night reading. Victorian gothic at its best, the last 100 Pages were un-put-downable. I have enjoyed all of Laura Purcell 's books but I think this one might be my favorite. As with her other books, always atmospheric, big mansion at the edge of the sea cliff, spooky supernatural elements, strong, fascinating but often flawed female characters and that bang of an ending. This one would make a heck of a movie. Highly recommend if you enjoy gothic.

'The entire house
Literary Han
Well that was an odd read.

Like all of Purcell’s books you are left with questions unanswered and I do enjoy that aspect!

The writing was easy to read and very reminiscent of Victorian England.

However, there was little plot and I found it tedious at times.

An average read

I would recommend for spooky vibes

Hannah xoxo
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! Perfect storytelling
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-reads-2019
Wow!! @SpookyPurcell does it again, delves into the past and pulls out a ripe juicy plum of a story.
Haunting and mesmerising, Bone China is set over 2 historical periods of time 40 years apart.
The story begins with Hester Why travelling by carriage to Cornwall to take up a new position at Morvoren House where she is to be employed as a domestic help nursing the frail, elderly, invalid Miss Pinecroft. It’s obvious Hester is running away from something. She is leaving behind her a trail of jobs
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an E-ARC copy of Bone China in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to read this book. It started off really promising. The scene and atmosphere was set really well. It began with Hester Why on her journey and arrival at her new job at Morvoren House. It then took us back to her previous job and the reason why she left. Another part of the story then took us back 40 years or so to tell the story of the life of her new mistress. This was all
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set primarily in Cornwall during two time periods roughly 40 years apart we follow Louise Pinecroft & her family. In the early thread Louise is helping her physician Father with a new treatment for TB. In the later thread Louise is an older woman still living in the same house in Cornwall.

I wasn’t a big fan of this author’s first book, The Silent Companions. I felt there was something missing from it & I feel the same with this book. There is a lot of discussion around the Cornish
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Firstly, thank you to the publisher at Bloomsbury Publishing, and to Net Galley, for allowing me to read Bone China ahead of its publication in exchange for an honest review!

Bone China is predominantly set in Cornwall, in a house on a cliff above a raging sea – a house that contains secrets, superstitious maids, and a lot of china. Hester Why has arrived to become the new nurse for the lady of the household, the strange and silent Miss Pinecroft. Hester’s job isn’t made easy however, what
Theresa Smith
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly creepy gothic historical fiction is as rare as hen’s teeth. I had high expectations of Bone China and I was thrilled to see those expectations met, and if I’m honest – which is of course the whole point of a review – exceeded. And in the spirit of this honesty I’m going to confess: after reading this, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to look at my Spode bone china plates without feeling a frisson of unease. You’ll have to read the book to find out why!

‘Dawn is a crimson slash on the horizon.
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
A gothic Victorian novel about consumption, grief and folklore set on the wind ravaged cliffs of Cornwall? Yes please! The Corset by Laura Purcell made my list of Top 5 Books of 2018 last year, making her latest novel Bone China my most anticipated release of the year. And I loved it!

Hester Why is a lady's maid and nurse running from her past when she applies for a post at Morvoren House in Cornwall. Her mistress Miss Pinecroft is seemingly affected by a stroke and in poor mental and physical
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Lost Ones
  • Starve Acre
  • Mistletoe
  • The Confession
  • The Foundling
  • Wakenhyrst
  • To Keep You Safe
  • Platform Seven
  • Keep Clear: my adventures with Asperger’s
  • The Museum of Broken Promises
  • The Wayward Girls
  • Last Request
  • The Art of Dying (Way of All Flesh 2)
  • A Shadow on the Lens
  • The Familiars
  • The Conviction of Cora Burns
  • The Truth
  • Dreamland
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Anger has ever been a failing of mine. When it surges, it sings in my veins like a dram of gin. Any action seems possible, reasonable. It is only afterwards, when the fire fades, that I see the dark soot-stain of what I have done.” 1 likes
More quotes…