The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts about this stunning book. Thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite to the blog tour for The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell and to Raven Books/ Bloomsbury Books for a gorgeous proof copy to read and review.


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…

Today is the last day of the blog tour but please check out the reviews from my fellow bloggers listed below too.

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Laura Purcell despite having two of her books sat waiting on my Kindle. I had seen glowing reviews on social media about this book and was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review for the blog tour.

The book takes us back to Bath in Victorian times, but not to the genteel Bath we see in period dramas, but to the dark and creepy streets, where money is tight and people disappear in the night.

This is a no spoiler review, so I need to be very careful about what I write so that I don’t spoil this well plotted story. Agnes has been left unmarried and fatherless, so earns money to look after her family by cutting out silhouettes of paying customers. As the story progresses we meet her doctor and start to receive snippets of information about an accident, an illness she nearly died from, a lost fiancé, a dead sister. The people Agnes prepare silhouettes for start to die, leading to Agnes meeting young Pearl, who may be able to communicate with the dead.

This is a very clever story, with small hints/fake news being shared in each chapter, so that this poor reader had a number of suspects in the frame for the murders. However, I was totally wrong and didn’t guess the ending. I loved the way the story evolved, getting darker and more twisted. This was my favourite book of January 2021 and I’m sure will be in my top 20 books of 2021. I’m off to read more books by Laura Purcell – with a bright light on.

Author Bio:

Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Her first novel for Raven Books, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 and Zoe Ball ITV Book Club pick and was the winner of the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award, while her subsequent books – The Corset and Bone China – established Laura as the queen of the sophisticated, and spooky, page-turner. |@spookypurcell

Laura Purcell is available for features, interviews and events. For more information please contact Emilie Chambeyron on


By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum. Adopter of dogs.

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