Book : Bone China
Author : Laura Purcell
Genre : Historical Gothic Fiction
Pages : 433
Publisher : Bloomsbury India
Rating : 🌟🌟🌟🌟.3
Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.
Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.
Laura Purcell weaves a brilliant atmospheric tale surrounding the Morovoren house and its residents in her latest book, “Bone China”. Purcell after establishing herself as one of the masters of goth fiction in the modern times through her works , The Silent Companions and The Corset keeps the element of intrigue alive in “Bone China”.
Hester Why,a nurse is fleeing from her own demons to join as a nurse in a remote mansion located at the Cornish Coastline, the esteemed Morovoren House. But will the monsters of her past leave her side so easily? Or is another more horrific monsters awaiting her at her new quarters?
Forty years ago, Louis Pinecroft, the daughter of Dr. Ernest arrived at Cornwall’s Morovoren House, after a tragedy shook their family and all the other members, fell into the clutches of an epidemic. The father daughter duo find their recluse in their abode and in finding a cure for phthisis -or consumption through various experiments held on some prisoners.
The events alternate between these two residents of the house and a permanent member of the house Creeda, who believes herself as a guardian of the cursed house. Purcell creates an aura so eerily scaring and spine-chilling that it makes your head reel with so many questions. Laura’s descriptions of the Cornwall countryside, the dubiety of certain characters and how she gives life to the charming tales of creatures that lie beneath is unequivocally rich and powerful to captivate your interest throughout the book.
Bone China being my first of Laura Purcell, I enjoyed it immensely because historical fiction and suspense are two of my most preferred genres and I think a mix between them rarely goes wrong. The two main characters come to the Morovoren house, with baggage of their horrific past and how deal with their nightmares in the house is the central theme of the book.Having said that I expected something more from Hester’s part. The “bone china” as the title says failed to gain their ground, and just felt like a prop in the whole book. Although Purcell gives equal spotlight to both the past and present timeline, I somehow felt the calendars and events of the past somehow didn’t have a whole lot of implication in Hester’s scene. But maybe that’s what the author tried to achieve through the dual timelines but it somehow didn’t work on my part.
Did I enjoy the book? Oh hell yes! One of the best atmospheric reads of 2019 for me and I am looking forward to reading “The Silent Companions”.
Known for her infusion of historical narrative with gothic elements, Purcell doesn’t sway much for her forte and once again gifts us a delicious tale of strangeness and of underlying myths that somehow find their way to the surface.
About the author : 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 won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. Other Gothic novels include THE CORSET (THE POISON THREAD in USA), BONE CHINA and THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS (2020)
Laura’s historical fiction about the Hanoverian monarchs, QUEEN OF BEDLAM and MISTRESS OF THE COURT, was published by Myrmidon.