The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell

Posted On 24 January 2023

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My Five Word TL: DR Review : I loved everything about this.


It seems that Laura Purcell is not only the Gothic Queen but she also seems unable to do little wrong in terms of her creations.  This is an author that I usually dance a little jig to whenever I discover that she has a new release pending and so far I’ve enjoyed them all – very much.

Set in the theatre this is a dark and atmospheric read.  It revolves around five key plays that reflect the story as it progresses.  It’s a tale involving plenty of drama, unholy deals that come at a price, jealousy, ambition and tragedy.

As the story begins we meet Jenny, she’s fallen on hard times following the betrayal of her own brother which has left Jenny and her siblings in dire straits.  When Jenny is called to meet the wealthy wife of of the Mercury Theatre owner she is intrigued and a little amazed when she’s offered the job of dresser at the theatre – the very place where her brother betrayed not only her but the cast and crew of the theatre itself.  It seems that the lady herself has suspicions about her husband and his leading actress and wishes Jenny to be her inside eyes – a spy no less – and Jenny is desperate enough to take the position.  Of course, when she begins to find out she likes the actress in question, admire her a little even, it doesn’t help her to undertake her new role.

I loved this.  The setting, the plot, the writing, the dark gothic feel, the characters, the strange blending in of theatre and supernatural elements with such a deft touch.  Absolutely loved it and frankly I could read it again.

The theatre setting and Victorian period is perfect and seems to be Purcell’s domain.  The theatres is brought to life beautifully, dilapidated and yet startling when the bright lights shine.  This is a dangerous place and when things start to go wrong, it seems like bad luck has come calling

The leading lady, Lilith Erikson, is a beautiful and passionate woman, full of ambition and determined to grasp the nettle now.  When she comes into possession of a strange watch, one believed to contain dark powers, her troubles begin.  Her performances on stage are magnificent, she lives and breathes the characters, but off stage she loses her will.  Jenny is a great character too and it’s a pleasure to read two such strong female leads.  Jenny is basically good at heart and therefore conflicted with her newfound role as tittle tattle.  She feels bad for spying on Lilith but needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle, she’s basically in between a rock and a hard place and must take any work she’s offered – and this is indeed a lucrative position.

The supernatural elements revolve around a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse from Greek mythology.  These elements are subtly woven into the story in such a way that I think readers who don’t particularly love supernatural elements will still enjoy.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  The writing is fantastic, it provides the perfect balance in all ways, the theatre comes to life and the characters leap off the page.  In a nutshell, I can’t say enough good things about this book.  Put simply I loved it and like a greedy child desperate for more I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars


5 Responses to “The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell”

  1. Susy's Cozy World

    I don’t know if this can be a right fit for me, but your review was a pleasure to read! Thanks for sharing!

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’ve often encountered this author’s name in my blog-hopping, and always in very positive terms: this novel sounds very intriguing and I might choose it to… break the ice with the author…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Tammy

    I’m excited to read this if it ever comes to the US. Or what the heck, I can just get a copy from Book Depository😁

  4. pagesandtea

    I was excited to read your review for this knowing we’ve both enjoyed Purcell’s past books. Really happy to see it’s another 5 star read and I cannot wait to pick it up myself, it sounds perfect 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I am hoping this will come out in the US a few months after UK release as with all her previous books, but ahhhh I can hardly wait!

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