The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Agnes Darken is a silhouette artist whose profession becomes threatened when her customers begin winding up dead. Much to her chagrin, the killer seems to be someone of her acquaintance and is set to torment her to no end.

Determined to seek the truth, Agnes approaches a young spirit medium, Pearl, to contact her deceased customers. Her efforts hurtle her towards a chilling revelation that can jeopardize the safety of those she loves.

This is the first book I’ve read of Laura Purcell’s, and I wanted to love it immensely. In my head, based on everything I’d heard, I’d built up Purcell’s writing to be all that I sought (spooky, thrilling, haunting) and more! And so maybe the fault lies in my own expectations.

The author’s writing is as lovely as I’d anticipated. Equal parts vivid and eloquent, it definitely makes me want to read the rest of her works. Even the plot she has crafted offers so much in the context of the historical premise.

The idea of a silhouette artist is something I’ve never thought of before. And it made the story all the more gripping.

Set in Victorian-era Bath, Purcell’s gothic novel is filled with intrigue for sure! But the primary reason it ranks at the centre of my rating scale is that the execution of the plot somehow felt lacklustre. The atmosphere wasn’t thrilling or eerie. In fact, it failed to elicit any kind of emotional response from me.

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

It was only in the last 15% of the book that I found myself on the edge of my seat, eager to know what was about to unravel.

Basically, the manner in which the developments in the story were disclosed felt too tranquil for a mystery thriller.

On the whole, I wouldn’t discourage you from picking it up because Laura Purcell’s writing makes it worth the read, but it just was a different experience than what I had set out for.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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