• The Shape of Darkness

  • A Novel
  • By: Laura Purcell
  • Narrated by: Ell Potter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Edgar Award Finalist

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead—and to try and identify their killers—in this beguiling new tale from the queen of Gothic fiction, Laura Purcell

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.

©2021 Laura Purcell (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Edgard Award Finalist - Best Paperback Novel
 

"Purcell is fast establishing herself as the doyenne of gothic mystery, and this positively oozes uncanny menace . Niftily plotted and deftly researched, it's one to read with the lights blazing and the door bolted." ― Mail on Sunday (London)

"There are ghosts, ghouls and ghastly goings on aplenty in the tale of Agnes Darken . There are some spine-chilling moments in this twisty tale, and fans of murder mystery and gothic fiction will love getting lost in Agnes and Pearl's spooky world."― Daily Mirror (London)

"A clever and well-researched novel with a good twist, and it shows the nightmare of life for single women of limited means in the 19th century." ― Literary Review (London)

What listeners say about The Shape of Darkness

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Another excellent book by Ms. Purcell

Ms. Purcell once again masterfully enthralls her readers with fascinating relationships and a thrilling story. While it is a ghost story, it's more about perception, power dynamics within family, societal expectations and obligation. There are stories within stories. I loved this book and the narration.

4 people found this helpful

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A little predictable

Overall okay. It started slow and picked up a little. You could see the end coming a mile away but enjoyed it enough.

1 person found this helpful

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Great characters that held my interest throughout

Great and real characters that held my interest throughout. Worth the credit. Not what I expected.

1 person found this helpful

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You think you know…

But, you don’t.
Excellent story!! Narrator is excellent and the plot is twisty all around.

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Slow Burn but very Good

I really loved this book. This is the second book I've read by Laura Purcell. She stays true to her style, builds upon the characters at first, giving a slow burn, then a rush at the end.

I enjoyed the story, very original. The characters are unique, the author throws in some surprises. However, I did not care for the ending. I get it but it's a little confusing.

I definitely recommend this audio book for Gothic Ghost story lovers. I enjoyed the narrating. I felt the narrator gave feeling to the characters. Had I read this book I don't think I would have liked it, as much as, I did listening to it. Greatly deserves 4 stars, a good listen.

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Silhouettes

I am a fan of Laura Purcell and this novel does not disappoint. I have read her previous books and enjoyed them immensely. Each one always captures an occupation of women of their time.
Ell Potter, the narrator, made this book come alive, and will look forward to other books that she narrates.
This book has its twists and turns, and deals with seances, mesmerizing, and the art of silhouette cutting.
And just when you think you have it solved .... you don't.