In a past life, I was responsible for shortlisting books for a prize, and I read some books I wouldn’t normally read.
One of those – and eventual winner of the prize – was the gothic horror novel The Silent Companions. Before reading this, I wasn’t really a fan of historical fiction, but it really seems to have converted me into the genre.
Bone China is the latest from author Laura Purcell.
It features Hester Why, a nurse who has moved to a remote part of the Cornish coast to avoid her own past. There she meets the strange inhabitants of Morvoren House, including the frail lady of the house Louise Pinecroft.
Hester is trying to keep a low profile, but also, she knows that something strange is going on and she starts trying to get to the bottom of it.
We alternate between Hester’s story and forty years previously when Louise first moves to the house with her father, a doctor who is trying to cure consumption.
The character that links the two stories is the creepy Creeda, a young maid that starts at the house when Louise and her father first move in. She comes from a family that produces Bone China and it’s this crockery that forms part of the gothic mystery.
I think I enjoyed this more than Silent Companions – it really pulls you into the world that you can almost feel the wind whistling around you as Louise walks across the cliffs.
Like Silent Companions it presents a gothic mystery, one that it doesn’t fully explain as well, so it leaves open the possibility that the fairies are real.
I gave Bone China 7.8/10