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Publisher's Summary

The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick The Silent Companions sees a teenage seamstress convinced she can control people’s fates through the clothes she makes for them.

Dorothea and Ruth. Ruth and Dorothea. 

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 is asked to visit Ruth as part of her charitable works, she could not be more delighted. Her first encounter with a murderer will provide the perfect opportunity to explore Dorothea’s fascination with phrenology and test her theories that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. 

But the story Ruth has to tell - of bitterness and betrayal, of death and destruction - will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad or a murderer?

©2018 Laura Purcell (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Corset

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Profile Image for J. Grear
  • J. Grear
  • 13-10-2018

Disappointing

The performance was, on the whole, good but there's an issue with the recording in that it picks up the narrator's breaths and swallows. it makes for an uncomfortable listen at many points... a little squeltchy.

The book itself is enjoyable enough although not as good as The Silent Companions. The twist is heavily telegraphed well in advance so that by the time the characters work out what's going on you're intensely frustrated that it's taken them so long.

21 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jennifer Jane
  • Jennifer Jane
  • 30-08-2020

A gothic tale

The plot of this book is difficult to summarise - its primarily about Ruth- in prison awaiting trial for a murder which she is admitting to. It's also about Dorothea - wealthy heiress with an interest in phrenology who visits the women in prison to pursue this interest. We hear Ruth's tale via her interaction with Dorothea. Ruth was in genteel, poverty before having to become a seamstress and we are kept guessing till the end whether there are supernatural forces at play. Is Ruth mad or bad or in possession of supernatural powers? We also learn about Dorothea. Her father expects her to make a good match but she has already found a match - it's not one her father would approve if though...

This is a dark story - there is cruelty, abuse and the reader experiences how difficult life was in these times for women and the poor. I felt so sorry for Ruth - her story is just sad. She suffers throughout. Dorothea was a much more difficult character to like. She comes across as a bit of brat - or at least I thought so. This book takes a long and meandering path to its conclusion and involves a whole host of other characters - these additional extras don't really get their stories concluded. They seem to be there to lying to assist with the main plot development but some of them have quite a major role. It's always a bit of an irritation when we get to know characters and then they just disappear... I think part of this is to do with how this book ends...

At the very end there is a massive plot twist. I hadn't seen it coming at all. It was only a few sentences long and the story just stops afterwards. Don't get me wrong, it hits the reader with full force - I was listening on Audible and had to rewind it twice as I thought I'd missed something. The consequence of this abrupt and shocking ending is that it leaves more questions than answers. It felt unfinished. I wasn't happy with how Ruth's story came to end - Dorothea could have done more for her I thought. Now I've finished it, it's the kind if book you need to go back and read (or listen to) again as the perspective is likely to be different in view of the knowledge of how it ends.

Overall, this is a difficult read - it's dark and there is a lot if cruelty, abuse, unfairness and injustice.... but this probably a realistic reflection of some of the goings on in this period if history. Life was impossibly difficult for most people. In some respects I liked the twist at the end but I'm left with the overall feeling that I don't quite get it!

I listened to this on Audible. The bpnarration was a bit and miss for me. I didnt like Dorothea's voice at all. At times, the expression was really quite robotic and lacked all feeling. I found it difficult to tell at first whether Ruth or Dorothea was speaking as their 'voices' were so similar. It was difficult to get into but I felt this improved as time went on and I got used to the narrators style.

5 people found this helpful

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  • sj irving
  • 17-03-2019

ok but not exceptional or one I'd recommend

entertaining but not one I'll be reading again or recommending. narrator struggled with male characters

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kerry Boughton
  • 11-12-2018

brilliant

I will admit to selecting this book for its cover, but having been terrible at reading recently I have found this to have renewed my vigour. An excellent story with good twists and turns, nice to see a genuinely good historical novel with strong female protagonists that isn't a dreary love story!

8 people found this helpful

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  • crochetdiva
  • 30-11-2020

Brilliant, amazing!

This book is totally riveting, and I listened to it all in one sitting. if you like Les Miserables you will love this. A totally brilliant book that will have you on the edge of your seat.

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  • Ms. Vanessa W
  • 04-11-2020

Really enjoyed this one!

A slowly evolving story which is quite different. Well written and well narrated, worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Squirrel Nutkins
  • 28-01-2020

Fantastic

I loved this, was gripped all the way through. Original story, will look for more by this author.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kayleigh Bradley
  • 16-10-2018

fascinating chilling story

read beautiful in a voice you good listen to for days. which I have! did not want to stop this recording of this thrilling story and it's vivid characters

5 people found this helpful

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  • Craig
  • 02-11-2021

A good listen

a little slow in the beginning but suddenly found myself sucked in.
Great story, reading was a bit bland though.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Helly
  • Helly
  • 11-09-2021

A masterpiece

Oh wow, I wasn’t expecting that! Fantastic ending. BRILLIANTLY read by Nathalie Buscombe, who really conveyed the mood of the book in both prose and dialogue. I know it’s a cliche, but the best words I can find to describe this book are ‘dark and compelling’. I was enthralled from start to finish, and couldn’t stop listening.
I started off thinking Dorothea could have done more to help Ruth, but as a woman of her time she had very little power herself. It’s true, as others have said, we do not hear what happens to all the characters, but I felt there was enough about them in the story to have a pretty good idea of the direction their lives would take. Laura Purcell has given us a true masterpiece!

1 person found this helpful

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