I can’t believe I am only now getting around to writing about this incredible book. It is by far one of the most impactful and slowly chilling books I have encountered for a long time, and listening to it on Audible, the cast need a huge amount of praise, bringing such a wonderful book to life.
The book is told from two perspectives. One, Dorothea, a well off young woman who has taken an interest in Phrenology, the study of the skull to read a person. The other, Ruth, a young woman condemned to death, being studied by the first. As Dorothea studies Ruth for her research, Ruth tells her story. And slowly Dorothea’s scepticism begins to drain away…
The book has the wonderful ability to build up suspense at every turn. You find yourself listening for clues within the turns of phrase, and the emotional waves you ride from what you find surge within you. This is one of those books that stays with you, however far away from it you go. You have questions and even when you have the answers, you need the book to continue way past its end. It is a true skill to build up your readers in such a manner, and the author has achieved something that every writer aims for.
The hard hitting points made within the book – good vs evil, nature vs nurture, rich vs poor – are as important now as they were in the time period this book is placed in. Those are questions and thought processes that will be forever relevant, and the way they are styled and handled in this situation is utterly brilliant. I wish I could wipe my brain of the book so I could read it all over again.