The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton is fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At first glance, this doesn’t look like my kind of thing – with witches and dark magic in the blurb. However, the way this is written makes this more believable than anything I’ve read of this genre for a little while.

No one was getting out of a Larry Glassbrook casket once they were shut inside. In fairness, very few people tried.

Florence ‘Flossie’ Lovelady is a fresh-out-of-the-academy police officer, new to the area of Sabden, and new to the male-orientated Sadben police force. It’s 1969, and someone is murdering teenagers and burying them in caskets in cemetaries. Larry Glassbrook subsequently confesses and is sent to prison until his death 30 years later.

Set against the backdrop of the witches of Pendle and rumours of dark magic, we follow Florence as she tries to solve the case and find her way in a world where men are in charge and women must follow behind.

That’s the patriarchy for you. It’s what men do when they’re afraid and they feel helpless and out of control. They turn on the outsider, usually a woman, and they blame her for everything that’s going wrong. You’ve become the witch my dear.

Florence is lodging in the Glassbrook house and so is close to the action when Luna, one of the Glassbrook children, is the fourth teenager to be abducted in Sabden. Can Florence find Luna before it is too late and bring her home?

I found this book fascinating. As I’ve said before I don’t read things that are supernatural and make believe. However, the way this is written, it reads more like the historical work that you read about actual witch trials of the time. And where we know that witches aren’t real, we do know that people believed that they were and women, and men, were often persecuted for the crime of witchcraft.

Florence is a strong character. We jump back and forth between 1969, when the crimes are being committed, and 1999, when Florence comes back to Sabden with her son, for Larry’s funeral. Sharon Bolton writes perfect length chapters and her writing flows so naturally that it is easy to read and you just get swept up in the story. The pace of this book is just right – there is no lull in the action at all and there is always something happening.

Avril and Daphne are awesome characters. They are the local witches that Florence befriends, and who are her main allies when she gets into a bit of trouble with the police.

The Glassbrook girls, on the other hand, I didn’t like either of them. There is older sister Cassie and younger sister Luna. Cassie is the classic trouble making older sister, who doesn’t like Florence and generally is just rude to her. Luna is a young teenager, and gets into the usual trouble teenagers do.

One by one he steals them away and nobody knows when he’s going to pounce next. Check under the bed tonight Luna.

Cassie isn’t nice, she isn’t friendly and if my sister said this to me, I would have a hard time sleeping for a very long time.

I recommend this book to any and everyone. Give it a read, you will get lost in the beautiful hills of Lancashire and swept up in the magic of witches.

Becca x

The Craftsman – Sharon Bolton