Bone China is a dark, atmospheric tale that will appeal to fans of Jessie Burton and Daphne du Maurier. In Bone China, Laura Purcell draws on elements of the Gothic, for example, an eerie house, gloomy weather, and a young woman who has to unsolved a mystery. The book also covers themes of isolation, grief and the fairy world.
Bone China is set in a mysterious house in Cornwall and is split into two different timelines. At the beginning of the novel, we meet Ester, a young woman who is fleeing from her past and takes on a job as a nurse for Miss Pinecroft at Morvoren House. She soon realises that her new home is not as safe as she thought… The story then goes back in time to when Miss Pinecroft was young. After losing some of their family members to consumption, Miss Pinecroft and her father decide to house a group of ill prisoners at Morvoren House, under the belief that the sea air would be able to cure them. It is there that Miss Pinecroft's maid Creeda recounts tales of strange fairies that lure humans to the sea. Is this just fallacy or is there some truth to Creeda's stories?
Laura Purcell's writing style is full of emotion and imagery. The characters in Bone China are all complex and have secrets. Ester is an intriguing woman who was keen to start over but got caught up in a mystery. She turns to alcohol and drugs in order to block out memories of her past. Louisa is somewhat more likeable than Ester: while she's superstitious in her old age, she was strong-willed and determined in her youth, as well as loyal to her father. Both timelines are connected by Creeda, who is persistent that a supernatural presence lurks at Morvoren House.
All in all, Bone China is a well-researched and imaginative novel that is thoroughly engaging throughout and will keep you on your toes right until the very end. The only downside of the book is that the conclusion is a bit anticlimactic. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Laura Purcell has to offer.