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The Shape of Darkness: 'Darkly addictive, utterly compelling' Ruth Hogan Hardcover – January 21, 2021
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Frequently bought together
- Publisher : Raven Books; 1st edition (January 21, 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 152660258X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1526602589
- Item Weight : 1.21 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.82 x 1.54 x 5.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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SPOILER AHEAD -----
What about the dog?
Top reviews from other countries
There is no denying that this book is a page turner, and as always the characters and the setting of the story come to vivid life in the mind, nearly to the extent of seeing, hearing and smelling the scenes being read about.
The problem for me is the ending. I'm not one of those people that want a particular ending and throw my toys out of the pram when it doesn't go that way. However, this book has an ending that suggests that the author had many ideas of where it could end, couldn't decide, so went with all of them. What that leaves is a rather unsatisfying groan-worthy mess. You have to read it to understand what I mean, as I won't give away spoilers. And this book is still worth a read.
The other problem is that I sniffed out all the rats a while before the messy twisty endings sorted them all out. I thought at the time, surely she(the author) won't give that as the answer, but she did...cue groan. And will she twist that bit as well? Yes...groan. Perhaps she won't twist that bit? Oh she has...groan.
Don't get me wrong, this book is intricate and clever, but the ending is like it's almost trying to be too clever and that takes something away from the impact of it. It's like tying up loose ends, then knotting them again and again, and repeating it till there's nothing left to knot. Some of the ideas for plot twists could have been saved for another book.
So it was a good, fast page-turning read, but the ending was a bit of a belly flop.
I'll still read future books by the author. The journey is always good, even if the destination isn't as satisfying.
In 1854 Bath, silhouette artist Agnes Darkin is struggling to keep her business afloat. She is recovering from a serious illness and needs to make money to not only support herself but also her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric. Then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another... what’s going on?
Agnes seeks answers from Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father. Agnes hopes that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. Yet things don’t go quite as planned and they quickly discover that they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back...
Laura Purcell has again written a compelling historical novel with plenty of Gothic elements and some supernatural tingles. In a recent article in The Guardian she wrote about her inspirations and research, including Elizabeth d’Esperance’s ‘Shadow Land’, which she quotes at the outset of the novel.
To this solid foundation Purcell brings her considerable storytelling skills providing an engaging and atmospheric story with some interesting twists along the way.
She also effortlessly evokes her period setting, including its social etiquette. This was especially demonstrated in the formality between Agnes and her brother-in-law, Dr. Simon Carfax.
I complimented the ebook with its unabridged audiobook, narrated by Sophie Aldred, who is one of my favourite narrators.
Highly recommended as always with Laura Purcell’s novels.
A shapes of darkness echoes her previous works but that being said this book does stand out on its own and is nothing but incredible. From the first page I was drawn into the mystery and captivated by the characters. Straight away her scenes breathed life and her characters came to life off the page. I could really feel the emotions with such immensity throughout. Like her characters pasts this book will haunt me for a while.
The plot like scissors took many turns but was executed perfectly. I’ve noticed a lot in her novels that the events are always explained in a final conclusion but at the same time there are always some happenings in her story’s that can’t be explained. This creates a bigger shroud of mystery in her books and though it may annoy some I think it is what makes her work so powerful. You’re never really sure what her intent was. This story took many twists and dark turns. Although I did predict parts of the story this did not take away my enjoyment. I really thought I knew where this plot was headed... but at the end it just spiralled! There was still so much suspense and wow that ending... I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I enjoyed this book immensely and loved how multiple story’s compressed into one.
With her books I’ve always had to take a step back to process what I’ve read (because of the cruelty and her dark characters) but never before has one of her books made me cry... with her work I always desperately hope for characters happy endings but they never prevail... this was dark and I don’t want to give it away because it’s massive part to the story which the reader should discover themselves. She truly is a master at birthing such real and raw characters that stand out. Purcell’s characters always stand out from the crowd and are very unique but at the same time created from the darker parts of humanity. Very rarely do we see a middle aged women with health problems. Too often do we see characters who are drawn from society’s idea of beauty/ perfection and who are wrote to be aesthetically pleasing and perfect.
Purcell is the queen of Morden gothic and she has yet to disappoint me.
This is a brilliant gothic novel. It keeps you wondering until the very last pages. Absolutely fantastic writing, further cementing Purcell’s position as the finest writer of this genre. Highly recommended.
'Silent companions' in 2017 by this author was excellent and I would still highly recommend it.
Their following novels: 'The Corset' in 2018 and 'Bone China' in 2019 were not as good - 2/5 stars at the *very* most.
Read this novel hoping it would be able to finally match the standard set by 'Silent companions' as the reviews have been high.
I really wanted to like it.
Unfortunately for me it was just too boring, overly descriptive and needed editing down.
The characters were mundane, the plot dragged and the dialogues were just coma inducing.
After giving this author three chances, I don't think I will read their next...no matter how nice the book cover looks, or how intriguing the blurb is, the finished product ultimately fails to deliver.