Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars
As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, 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… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?
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…
Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so when I heard she was releasing a new book I was incredibly excited to read it. All of the books I have read by her have been five star reads so I had pretty high expectations going in. The story follows Agnes, a silhouette artist who lives in Bath with her elderly mother and nephew Cedric. Her business is struggling to stay afloat and when her customers start being murdered she wonders who exactly is targeting her. In a search for answers Agnes meets Pearl, a child who is able to contact the spirit world. Agnes asks Pearl to help uncover who the killer is, but in doing so reveals so much more.
Like Purcell’s previous novels, The Shape of Darkness is dark, full to the brim with a tense, unsettling atmosphere. I was completely hooked in by this book and I read it over the course of a couple of days. It’s beautifully written and I loved the way Purcell weaved this story of seances and murder. The story is pretty fast paced, it felt faster than either The Corset or The Silent Companions and I absolutely did not want it to end.
The story is a fascinating one and I really liked learning about the work Agnes did as a silhouette artist. Agnes is a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating to see her attempt to juggle her business, providing for her family and uncovering the killer. I also really liked Pearl and enjoying seeing the story unfold from both points of view.
The Shape of Darkness is perfect winter reading. It’s a tense, addictive read and one you will not be able to look away from. If you’ve read any of Purcell’s other books or you’re a fan of Victorian Gothic fiction, this is absolutely a must read.