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Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell, read by Sophie Aldred.

Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness....

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead - and to try to identify their killers - in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

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....

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....

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

©2021 Laura Purcell (P)2021 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"Dripping with atmosphere with a corkscrew plot, Laura Purcell just gets better and better." (Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars and The Foundling)

"It's her best one yet and that’s saying something. A story of a woman haunted in every way possible, I think it’s a future gothic classic." (Martyn Waites)

"Darkly addictive and utterly compelling. Reading Laura’s books is like watching a horror movie where you have to keep hiding behind a cushion because you dread what is coming next, but you simply have to find out!" (Ruth Hogan)

What listeners say about The Shape of Darkness

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Creepy and twisty

Halfway through this I was a bit meh. It seemed obvious what was going on. I was very wrong though and by the end I really enjoyed being fooled by the author.

8 people found this helpful

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Great twisty ending, just too late for me

I struggled to keep going to be honest. The lead character didn't have a clue what was going on, and neither did I. For hours. That continued for so long that I stopped feeling invested. The ending was great; twisty and exciting but way too late for me, and too rushed. So much was revealed in the last few minutes and then it just ended. Maybe it was me, maybe it would have been better devoured in one sitting. Great premise, great writing style, great narration. Pacing of the story arc was my issue with it.

6 people found this helpful

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Victorian creepiness

If I hadn't just finished the awesome Shuggie Bain I may have given this more. I didn't learn anything new. This genre has been very popular in the last 3 years and I think I need a break. Purcell does it well but its very similar to her others. I think The Silent Companions was better. The ending was predictable.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Victorian Gothic Thriller

The language throughout this book is sublime. The richly evocative writing brings life to Victorian Bath.
I think the story will appeal to people with a vivid imagination as the first part drew strongly on my ability to turn the words mentally into atmospheric pictures. I think for people who struggle with imagining storylines it may be a bit slow.
The first part of the story moved at a slower pace but at the half-way point it was gripping and addictive. I loved the setting, the creepy dark shadows, the exploration of Agnes' role as a silhouettist, the Victorian obsession with spiritualism and the description of the societal position of women.
This story would make an excellent TV series, movie or play so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
The supernatural element was also a draw for me. I was totally immersed in the world of Agnes Darken. The narration was excellent and meant I could lose myself in the story.

4 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

As an avid lover of Laura Purcell's work, I had this book pre-ordered and couldn't wait to start it.
For some reason, I just couldn't get into the story at all. The characters were difficult to attach to and I kept getting confused as to who was who. I found it boring, uninspiring and overall, disappointing.

3 people found this helpful

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It was ok

The story was fine but I did get a tad bored. The "singing" at intermittent times was awful. I had to skip past those parts. Other than that it was performed well. The authors other books are much better.

2 people found this helpful

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Trying to be too clever maybe

Well I thought it was pedestrian for quite a while and then when a spark of something different arrived it wasn’t that great. I kept going but some confusion arose and the ending was a bit of a damp squib.

2 people found this helpful

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waste of time

Mad senseless story! stretched unnecessarily. The storyline is forced and has no flow to it.

2 people found this helpful

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wow a page Turner for sure

absolutely loved this book from the minute I picked it up....then I couldn't put it down. lots of twists and turns with a jaw dropping ending

2 people found this helpful

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Mystery, intrigue and the supernatural...class!

narrator was excellent. She portrayed the main characters so brilliantly! The story was full of turns and twists with a fantastic unexpected end, all set in Victorian Bath. I thoroughly enjoyed it

1 person found this helpful