Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell


Release Date:
January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

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…

Review

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.

Book Review: Pine – Frances Toon

Book Review: Pine – Frances Toon

Header (16)
Release Date:
January 23rd 2020
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I ordered a copy of this book online
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They are driving home from the search party when they see her.

The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men. Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.

In spare, haunting prose, Francine Toon creates an unshakeable atmosphere of desolation and dread. In a place that feels like the end of the world, she unites the gloom of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.

Review

Copy of book cover (5)Going into Pine I didn’t really know what to expect, I had seen some incredible reviews online and I was so intrigued by this beautiful Gothic sounding story. The novel is set in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, following Lauren and her father Niall as they live life in a quiet little village. Despite everyone in the village knowing each other, the place is full of secrets – her mother’s disappearance, a young teenager goes missing and so much more. Trying to understand what’s going on in the village Lauren turns to her tarot cards, hoping to figure out just who she can really trust.

This quiet, beautifully written tale really sucked me in and I really did not want to put this one down. Toon is a brilliant storyteller, weaves layers that draw you deeper and deeper into the secrets surrounding this family. It’s a haunting tale, full of chilling imagery and an eerie isolated setting. It was a gripping read and I will certainly be on the lookout for more books from this author.

Pine is difficult book to categorise – it blends literary fiction with mystery and adds a touch of the supernatural. It’s a well executed story and is completely enthralling. Our main protagonist Lauren is a fascinating young girl, she’s clever and notices far more than most ten year olds. The story is quite a slow burn, it did take me a little while to get settled into the story, but after a few chapters I became completely invested in this story, with it’s vivid imagery of bleak forests and supernatural horror.

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot of this story – it’s definitely one of those books that you should go into knowing as little as possible about the plot. If you love captivating tales full of mystery with a pinch of Gothic horror thrown in, this is absolutely a must read.
4 Stars