The shape of darkness by Laura Purcell

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Set in the English town of Bath, 1854, silhouette artist Agnes Darken is struggling to make ends meet. She lives with her elderly mother and orphaned nephew Cedric and is doing all she can to support the three of them. Suddenly, one of her clients ends up murdered, shortly after sitting for Agnes. Then another . . . and another. It seems as though the killer is targeting Agnes and her business, but why? Desperately wanting answers, Agnes seeks the assistance of Pearl, a child spirit medium living with her stepsister (a mesmerist) and her ailing father, to contact the dead in order to find the killer. They soon discover that they may have opened the door to something they can never put back.

Laura Purcell's writing is so descriptive and gives an authentic feel to the Victorian Era this book is set in. It is a gothic mystery, with elements of supernatural that will have you peering over your shoulder and questioning every shadow. The powerful imagery she uses creates the perfect atmosphere and scenery for what ended up being a thrilling finale, with a twist that I never saw coming. The plot is a little slow to start, as it is very descriptive, however this is to set you up with everything you need to know later on. The characters are unique, and each have their own story to tell, some I would like to delve a little deeper into, however you become really invested in their journeys. Each one has a suspicious element to them which makes it even more difficult to determine who the killer could possibly be, no one can be trusted.

Overall, this is an enthralling and compelling read with high quality writing style that will have you guessing right until the very end!

Themes: Different points of view, Ghosts, Good and Evil, Gothic Fiction, Illness, Murder, Mystery, Scary Stories, Shadows, Supernatural.

Emily Feetham