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


Countdown to 2023 – Day 24 ‘Christmas Eve’ (7 days remaining)


Today is day 24 of my countdown to 2023.  Today’s prompt is ‘Christmas Eve’.  The prompts can be found here if you want to join in.  I’m hoping to use mostly books read this year.  Let’s begin:

CHRISTMAS EVE (One of your most anticipated books for 2023)

For this prompt I have to give a shout out for a favourite author.  Laura Purcell.  I love her books and I get super excited whenever I see she’s written something new.  The Whispering Muse is sat waiting on my shelves and I suspect it will be one of my earlier reads.

Tomorrow: Christmas Day – choose a boo from your wishlist

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to. 

This week my book is: The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell.  Basically, not to lay it on to thick over here, but I’ve really enjoyed all the books I’ve read by this author so to say I was excited to see this is something of an understatement.  I can’t even begin to describe my excitement – I don’t have enough words and you all don’t have enough time.  I’ve used a cover from Goodreads that is not yet finalised so be aware of that please:


By the pricking of my thumbs…

At The Mercury Theatre in London’s West End, rumours are circulating of a curse.

It is said that the lead actress Lilith has made a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse of Greek mythology, to become the greatest actress to ever grace the stage. Suspicious of Lilith, the jealous wife of the theatre owner sends dresser Jenny to spy on her, and desperate for the money to help her family, Jenny agrees.

What Jenny finds is a woman as astonishing in her performance as she is provocative in nature. On stage, it’s as though Lilith is possessed by the characters she plays, yet off stage she is as tragic as the Muse who inspires her, and Jenny, sorry for her, befriends the troubled actress. But when strange events begin to take place around the theatre, Jenny wonders if the rumours are true, and fears that when the Muse comes calling for payment, the cost will be too high.

…Something Wicked this way comes

Expected publication : February 2023