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- The Shape Of Darkness by Laura Purcell -

Published : 21st January 2020

Publisher : Bloomsbury

Format : Kindle, Hardback

Genre : Gothic/Historical Fiction

* All words highlighted in Grey are affiliate links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites. Where ever possible I will try and provide different versions of the book on all purchase sites.


A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead - and to try and identify their killers - in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another...

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back... What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

Thank you Bloomsbury for this stunning proof copy

My Review

Bath 1854, in a time where there is a peak interest in mesmerism and the spiritual world, the sitting for hand crafted silhouettes was once a prosperous business but is becoming less popular due to new techniques.

Agnes Darken lives with her aged mother and her nephew trying to make ends meet by making her skill of hand cutting silhouettes. Mysteriously, her sitters become one by one killed by an apparent murderer. Miss Darken finds herself scared yet obsessed by the events that keep happening that are, in her mind clearly linked to her cuttings, so she decides to turn to a medium, a young girl called Pearl, for help to find out who the culprit is via the deceased victims.

Pearl is only an eleven year old girl and living with her controlling sister and dying father finds herself helping Agnes in secret after Miss Darkens initial visit unsettled her sister so much but both end up getting far more then they bargained for and soon learn that when you lift the veil to the other side you cannot always guarantee you will close it again without leaving something behind with you.

Why I Loved It

This is Gothic Victorian writing at its best. Lauras books never fail to keep me fully engaged throughout the entire story and not only was this was totally consuming but I just didn't see the twist coming at the end which made it even better.

With a feeling like you are walking the victorian crowded streets of Bath and the unsettling feel of sitting right there in the dark and gloomy parlour with Agnes and Pearl as they try to communicate with the dead you cant help but dread what they will be left behind with as they attempt to reach out across the veil.

Masterfully written Laura weaves an unpredictable story so complex that you are constantly left wondering if Agnes is sane, if Pearl really can speak to the dead and wether Simon, her brother in law's intentions truly are sincere or selfishly sinister.

Click HERE to watch my Interview with Laura Purcell about her latest book plus lots more



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Meet the author

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 (US title THE POISON THREAD), BONE CHINA (US title THE HOUSE OF WHISPERS) and THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS

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Books by this author

The Silent Companions

The Corset

Bone China

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?

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