This review contains major plot spoilers including what happens in the end of The Corset. Please don’t read more than the first 2 paragraphs if you haven’t read the book yet.
Here I am with another ‘unpopular’ book review. When a book is really have high rating but I don’t like it, I prefer writing an honest review mapping out why I didn’t like it…
I am a big fan of The Silent Companions and pretty sure it’s going to be a horror classic. It was creepy, unsettling and atmospheric. Unforgettable. So maybe I had my expectations too high for The Corset.
There are obviously things I liked in this book. I loved how Ruth was mapped out as a character, her resentment, regrets, anger, and revenge was perfectly well written. Also the idea of ‘The Corset’ and sewing to kill was so good and original. Now let me bullet point what I didn’t like..(which is sadly more than the things I liked)
1- Too many characters, too many loose ends
My main problem in the book is that there were too many characters, which Purcell invested time to develop and left them like unfinished dresses lying around. Sir Thomas, David, Sir Thomas’s sister, Dotty’s to-be stepmother Mrs Pearse, even the twins. Ruth’s plot and Dotty’s plot, were not connected and was the most final touch to the story necessary? What happened to Thomas, and David? Why were they even in the story? Was Thomas only a plot device to hint about Dotty’s dad and what he’s possibly could have done and open her eyes? What about David? What was the point of Dotty’s love interests in this story, I never got it.
2- Ye Olde Cringe bitter repetitions
Oh, the repetitious events. We start with Ruth’s unfortunate backstory, which was to me far too stretched- OK, we understood. They are poor and miserable. Then pulled into a world of cruelty in Metyard’s. Where is the creepiness of this female Oliver Twist kick? There was again no joy for me reading what Ruth have been through Mrs Metyard’s house. A plate breaks, there is torture, then a candle falls, there is more torture, I think at one point there was also a stain or slime in the clothings, so there was more torture/cruelty. Blimey, there were so many gory scenes. It will turn your stomach over. I can’t understand why those repetitions were necessary and looking back I can’t see what it adds to the story line.
3- The Big Reveal and the Huge Eye Roll
The big reveal was a total disappointment for me. There was no way to see it coming. One of the villains were so superficially told, pulling them as the evil person in the end of story wasn’t my favourite.
4- The Revenge Plot Hole
If I am not falling into a misunderstanding, I am quite baffled by the way the revenge was plotted. Surely, getting rid of the people they were trying to get rid of, should be done in an order. One was more important for them, so why did they planned the other one’s death but the fate of the most crucial one was more coincidental? Also why couldn’t Dorothy do anything after realising what was happening to Ruth? Why did she walk away? She is surely a women from a respectable status in the society as hinted many times in the book. So for me, these look like plot holes. Please anybody who read the book, can shed some light If I am getting it all wrong.(you can email or dm if you don’t want to drop spoilers)
5- Whose story is this??
The most confusing part was this for me. Whose story is this book ? If this is Ruth’s story as it says on the cover, then why the hell we go through Dotty’s parents, David and Thomas. Which doesn’t really go anywhere. If this is Dotty’s story what’s Ruth got to do with it. From the start, I was expecting a sickly and obsessed friendship between the two girls, but instead it’s their stories trying to fit into each other, but one is over-repetitive(Ruth’s) and the other is so incomplete (On Dotty’s side, the potential lovers and the stepmother just disappear from the story) Is this the story of Ruth, Dotty or Dotty’s parents, or Billy/Nellie… Really unclear.
Long story short; the gothic “zing” the Silent Companions had was all about the atmosphere, the thick Yorkshire fog swept our face whilst we read it, however Corset fails to go beyond some bloody and gory scenes to chill us. There is no chilling horror elements in Corset, it didn’t really scared me as SC did.
I know there is controversy on posting ‘negative’ reviews but this was one of the most anticipated reads for me this year and I wanted to review it: honestly. I will read the next book of Laura Purcell, I also wonder how many years it took her to write SC and The Corset… As SC felt it was so much more worked on. Would love to ask her.
Thanks to NetGalley and Publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review.