The Conviction of Cora Burns Carolyn Kirby


51CLWc41D-L._AC_US218_Pub: No Exit Press


Birmingham 1885

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?


My Review

Rarely does a book come along that is so filled with intrigue, secrets and sadness that it makes your heart ache.

I absolutely loved The Conviction of Cora Burns, Cora is a fabulous character and I just loved getting to know her.

A tense and emotive read, I savoured every page and all too soon it was over.

Cora is a fiesty girl with heart, but her life with it’s hard knocks and unfortunate circumstances makes her tough and untrusting. Her tragic and unfortunate existence was such a joy to read and the author portrayed her beautifully.

After leaving The Borough Lunatic Asylum, the only home she ever knew, she is employed by Thomas Jerwood. He is an odd character, and as a scientist he makes studies of people and their behaviour. he involves Cora in these studies and gets her to do certain things to aid his research.  Cora discovers a secret that concerns his case study Violet, a young girl who lives at The Larches where Cora works.

Cora has never forgotten her childhood friend Alice Salt, and it is this friendship that is at the core of the novel. As a reader, we are made curious by these girls and their relationship, and also of Cora’s only possession, a medallion, that seems to be the key to her heritage. But oh my God. the truth, the twists and the reality of this stunning debut left me in pieces.  I was really moved by this wonderful wonderful book.

This is a beautifully written novel. It is descriptive and takes you to the stench of the streets and the poverty from which Cora comes.

It is by far one of the best reads I have ever come across and one I will always remember and recommend.



About the Author,

Originally from Sunderland, Carolyn Kirby studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working for social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Her novel The Conviction of Cora Burns was begun in 2013 on a writing course at Faber Academy in London. The novel has achieved success in several competitions including as finalist in the 2017 Mslexia Novel Competition and as winner of the inaugural Bluepencilagency Award. Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire.



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