What I read: The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell

Be careful what you wish for… it may just come true.

“The Whispering Muse” by Laura Purcell is a mesmerizing gothic tale, set in Victorian London.  Be prepared to be taken on an atmospheric trip to the theatre, behind the scenes with all its superstitions and myths.

The Whispering MuseThe story centers around Lilith, a brilliant actor with a strange and sinister secret.  Told from the perspective of Jenny, the young dresser hired by the theatre manager’s wife, to spy on Lilith.  This is only the start of this tale of obsession, superstition, and desire.  Desperate to escape poverty and to give her family a better life, Jenny is brave and have big dreams, but she is also gullible and naïve.  Thus impressed and intimidated by wealth and riches, like what the theatre manager’s wife promises her.

As per theatre myth, those who make a deal with the tragic muse of Greek mythology Melpomene, have the power to become the greatest performer the stage has ever seen.  Lilith, in a desperate attempt to escape her own lonely and troubled life, craving love, acceptance fame and fortune, and makes a Faustian deal with Melpomene.  What is the price that she will pay?

Supernatural events start occurring in the theatre, everywhere where Lilith goes, and she is haunted by paranormal visions and voices, prompting her to acts of self-destruction and violence. Her distrust and insecurities grow, and Jenny, who has developed a bond with Lilith, is torn between loyalty and friendship.  The unravelling of Lilith is astonishing and heart-breaking.  Is there hope?

The Whispering Muse“The Whispering Muse” is a cautionary tale of fascination, revenge, and suspicion.  It celebrates beauty, art and destiny and the author presents a vivid and immersive world to the reader, rich in historic cultural details.

Other themes covered masterfully is the gender roles in Victorian times, and what it was to live in a society ruled by reputation and wealth.

Complex characters contribute to the spine-chilling, spellbinding, and engrossing plot, integrating the clandestine, horror and romance.  I found this book hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric, with rich and evocative prose. For days all I could picture was the dark backstage of the theatre, the applause of raptured audience and gorgeous stage costumes. I am really keen to read more of Laura Purcell’s work!

This is perfect for fans of gothic and historical fiction and theatre geeks.

With thanks to Exclusive Books for the opportunity to read “The Whispering Muse”

The details:

PUBLISHED BY:  Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
EAN:  9781526627193
DATE PUBLISHED:  02 February 2023
PAGES:  304
GENRE:  Historical fiction

About the author:

Laura Purcell Laura Purcell