“The Craftsman” by Sharon Bolton – Book Review

A new Sharon Bolton novel is always cause for me to celebrate. Though I wasn’t able to procure an advance reader’s copy of “The Craftsman“, I simply just HAD to buy a copy and read it before the end of the year. Merry Christmas me!


Summer 1999 – Accompanied by her teenage son Ben, senior policewoman Florence Lovelady has traveled to Lancashire from London to attend the funeral of one of the men she helped to put in prison thirty years ago. The man was once her landlord, and her visit to her former home is fraught with traumatic memories. He was incarcerated for killing three teenagers. He buried them alive…

laundry hanging in a ‘ginnel’

Though the book opens in the year 1999, most of the narrative is set in June of 1969. Florence Lovelady is a very young police constable, the only female in a station of males. The time period was very sexist and Florence was relegated to making tea and doing other chores deemed worthy of her sex. Until… her superior intellect makes her noticed by her superiors.  Three teenage children have gone missing from their small Lancashire village. The last of the three vanished after entering a ginnel on her way home from school.

When Florence literally unearths one of the victims, she is made a part of the investigation team. The young girl’s body was found in an ancient graveyard in the shadow of Pendle Hill. 

The body was accompanied by a ‘clay picture‘ or effigy. A hand wrought figure of clay stuck with wooden picks. Black magic at work…

Florence creates charts detailing the teenagers last movements. She is a skilled detective despite her youth and inexperience. She is resented by her male colleagues.

As she comes nearer to finding the murderer, she herself is suspected of being in collusion with him because she is so clever at deciphering the clues.

She finds she has few friends at the police station. Even her lover, the married Tom Devine, seems to have turned against her. Her only friends now are the witches…. She is invited to stay at their home.

Then… Florence herself is abducted.

The author couldn’t have found a more atmospheric setting if she tried. In the shadow of Pendle Hill, Lancashire – world famous for it’s ancient history of witches and general creepiness, it was the perfect backdrop for the story. The author’s intimate knowledge of the area shows – it is where she grew up.

As usual, Bolton creates characters so real that they fairly leap off the page, often finding themselves well and truly entrenched in the reader’s psyche. I positively loved Florence and admired how the narrative showed her struggles in a career which at the time was mostly populated by men.

Written in the first person, the reader is privy to Florence’s thoughts, ideas, and insecurities.

I was more than excited to learn that “The Craftsman” is the first in a proposed trilogy. The second title being “The Cunning Wife”.

It will come as no surprise to most folks that I HIGHLY recommend “The Craftsman”.  After all, it was written by a true ‘craftswoman’.

Link to the Reading Group Guide for “The Craftsman”.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton

Sharon (formerly S.J.) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer. She is the author of the bestselling Lacey Flint series, as well as a number of stand-alone thrillers.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

Follow Sharon Bolton on Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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30 Responses to “The Craftsman” by Sharon Bolton – Book Review

  1. nzlisam says:

    Fantastic review, Lynne. Love how you structured your review, and how you even thought to include helpful pictures! I pictured a ginnel as a lot wider while reading, so it’s great to now have an accurate picture in my head. I look forward to looking around your blog, and reading more of your reviews. You’ve read so much!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Fictionophile’s Top Reads of 2018 | Fictionophile

  3. Annie says:

    I loved this one so much, can’t wait for the next ones in the series ❤

    Like

  4. Barb Saffer says:

    That’s a nightmare of an effigy! Great review.
    Merry Christmas. 🙂.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. skyecaitlin says:

    I love her books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, stunning review!!! This one blew me away too! I liked how you talked about the setting—you are so right that it was perfect for this story! I’ll definitely be reading the second installment!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great review!!

    Happy holidays ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yvo says:

    Wonderful review! I can’t wait to read this one myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. L Lostinacoulee says:

    Great review! I enjoyed this too!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I didn’t know this was going to be a series!! I think you enjoyed this one a little more than I did, but I am always happy to read more Sharon Bolton!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Is this a standalone novel?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved The Craftsman too. And you choice of photos is great. Still miss Lacey Flint enormously though.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I got a proof from work but never got around to read it. Now I regret it!! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Glad you enjoyed! Everyone seems to and your review is wonderful. Can’t wait to listen to this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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