BONE CHINA By Laura Purcell


Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken.

But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try to escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.


Thank you to pigeonhole for giving me a chance to read this with other people, a few chapters at a time, this isn’t really a type of book I would normally read, but I was intrigued by the storyline. It covers three timelines Morvoren House forty years earlier and Morvoren House now, as well as Hanover Square, where Esther Stevens had been a maid to Lady Rose, before fleeing from there to Cornwall, and taking up a position at Morvoren House under the new name of Esther Why, where she is nurse maid to Miss Louisa Pinecroft, who is partially paralysed and almost entirely mute.

Esther Why is an alcoholic, with a partiality to Gin, when this runs out on her way to Cornwall and her new position, she starts to take Laudanum, until she can get more gin, but why did she change her name? Why is she wanted? What has she done? When she arrives at Morvoren House things are very odd, Louise Pinecroft spends most of her time in a room surrounded by bone China with no heating, the room is freezing cold, she won’t let a fire be lit in the room, but why? What is behind this strange behaviour?

In the past at Morvoren House we are introduced to Louise Pinecroft, her father Dr Ernest Pinecroft, Creeda Nancarrow and Gerren Tyack. Dr Pinecroft has recently lost his wife, a daughter Kitty and a son Frances, to TB, or consumption or as he called it pthisis. Leaving just himself and Louise, they have moved to a house in Cornwall where Dr Pinecroft is determined to find a cure for the illness that killed most of his family. He has the idea that this illness should be treated with damp cold air along with many other things he tries. He has prisoners delivered who have the illness and sets them up in huts in the caves underneath where the house is situated in Cornwall, Louise has always helped her father, she accepts this is her life and that she will never marry. Creeda is a young girl who’s family own a porcelain factory, she is sent to Dr Pinecroft by her family who believe she is not quite right, because she believes in fairies, they are hoping that he can cure her, so she has gone to work there as a maid. She is still there 40 years later. As is the young lad of 11/12 Gerren who is stable boy in the early years, and in the later years he is coachman and groom. Gergen and Creeda are a married couple, but who is Miss Roselyn Pinecroft? She is said to be Miss Louise Pinecrofts ward, but is there more to this? There are a number of things that happen at Morvoren but I don’t want to give out any spoilers for the story.

If you like a gothic, atmospheric read this is possibly a book for you. The setting, the strange goings on are all very strange. Do Fairies really exist? Are they nasty creatures?

This book is available for the 19th September 2019


Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Her first novel for Bloomsbury, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 and Zoe Ball ITV Book Club pick and was the winner of the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award, while Laura’s gothic chiller The Corset was acclaimed as a ‘masterpiece’ by readers and reviewers alike.

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