Esther Stevens, a Lady’s maid on the run. She accidentally poisoned her mistress but before she could be given any ‘punishment’ she fled, taking with her a damning snuff box and the only travelling dress she owned given by the mistress herself. Getting as far away as she could she decided to take up an offer of a position based in Cornwall, far enough a way to assume a new identity, Hester Why. Set with false papers and recommendations, she arrives at Morvoren House, after a few days Hester begins to question her new role as nurse and personal maid to Miss Pinecroft.
Forty years before
Miss Louise Pinecroft, the mistress of the house has her own story of pain and punishment. She and her father, Dr Pinecroft had move to this remote part of the world so her father could ‘cure’ consumption. The real motivation for this was because they had lost Louisa, the mother, Kitty and Francis the siblings, it was just them two left in the world now.
Dr Pinecroft had managed to persuade a gaol to release prisoners that were suffering with consumption to his custody so he could study and experiment the cause and effect of this illness. Dr Pinecroft and Miss Pinecroft worked together to treat and inspect the prisoners to see how they were faring.
Not only did Miss Pinecroft have this responsibility but she was now the mistress of her own household. She acquired a maid from her father to which Louise was to find out was actually a patient of her fathers, but Creeda was an odd girl, she introduced Dr Pinecroft and Miss Pinecroftto the world of fairy’s, pixies, changelings and goblins.
Lucy Purcell has written a tense and chilling tale of two women and how circumstance shaped their lives.
You can really feel the grey, stormy and cold nights, the creepy noises from the creaking of the floorboards and you can even feel the little people’s eyes following you through the pages.
Initially we are introduced to Esther/Hester and how she comes to Morvoren House then when she starts to settle and gain a little knowledge of the house and its occupants that’s when we start to find out the history of Miss Pinecroft.
I must admit when I first thought about my review I was going to say that I didn’t like how it was set out, but the more I think on it the more I understand why L.Purcell had done it this way. The characters were formed well, there were layers to Esther/Hester and why she was the type of person she was, again by the time I reached the end of the novel I could see how her character had evolved, the same with Miss Pinecroft.
I do, however, feel that there could have been additional history and elaboration to the characters Creeda and Garrett, they just didn’t get the same attention and I felt that there was more to them that L.Purcell gave.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel.
Bone China Hardcover by Laura Purcell
Out 19 Sep 2019
Print Length – 448 pages