The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton – Review.

 

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Today I am sharing my review again to support the release in paperback of The Craftsman. It is a book that takes place locally and I was thrilled to find out that there will be a follow up next year. You can buy the book here

About The Book

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?

My Review

The Craftsman is a dual time frame novel that takes place in Sabden, a small town in the foothills of Pendle, Lancashire. Witch Country. The Pendle Witch trials and stories are part of this book.
It takes place in 1969 when Florence, Flossie, is a young officer and in 1999 when she is Assistant Commissioner. She has returned to the area to attend the funeral of a convicted murderer who she has stayed in contact with.
Whilst there is the spookiness connected with the witches the storyline in the novel is crime fiction. In 1969, Flossie is one of the team who are trying to find three missing children. She has to put up with discrimination, suspicion and general misbehaviour from the local residents as well as from her colleagues. There are places where an outsider will never be accepted and there was little chance of Flossie ever being considered one of the team. By anybody. All of the attitudes were convincing and it was good to see that she was successful in her career.
In 1999, the storyline is more sinister. I was brought up on stories regarding the Witch trials but had never thought about how they affected the communities nearby. How the legends and history were still evident. Some I had heard before, but the novel shows the lesser known facts.
Many of the characters weren’t particularly likeable, and even though much of the treatment Flossie received was unnecessary she wasn’t an easy person to like. I did like the descriptions of the local people, I found them believable. The older ones, brought up on superstition, some who probably had families who had lived there 400 years earlier, at the time of the trials. And the younger ones who wanted to go to the cities to have a good time.

The Dream Wife by Louisa de Lange – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Annie is the dream wife.
Mother to two-year-old Johnny and wife to David, she is everything her husband expects her to be – supportive, respectful and mild – but what he expects isn’t who she truly is.
But Annie is a prisoner in her home.
Her finances, her routine, her social life are all controlled by him. It’s the love for her boy that she lives for, and at night she dreams of a world where she is free.
So Annie decides to fight back.

And you won’t believe how she is going to do it . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Dream Wife is a difficult book to review. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it took a turn that was totally unexpected and left me lost for words. And it’s difficult to review it without spoilers.
There is no doubt that Annie is suffering at the hands of her husband David who doesn’t allow her any freedom, give her any respect and is abusive mentally and physically. His mother is little better, her husband who died before the reader is introduced to the family is the only one who has any decency. Her relationship with her son was completely different and she stood up to both of them every time they tried to change the way she was with him.
As the novel progressed so did the abuse and at times I was cringing as I read. At the same time the dreams started and with that part of the novel I got increasingly confused.
Strangely, because the parts of the novel that involved dreams were unusual I preferred the parts that I felt were reality. I understood that her dreams were where she went to cope but then I struggled to separate them from reality. I think I got it right but everybody will probably read it differently.
There is no doubt that it is very clever and I would definitely read it again to see of I have the same thoughts.

#Orionontour – Book Event at Trof Manchester.

 

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Last night I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Orion on Tour Event. It was held at Trof in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on one of the hottest days of the year. I had never heard of Trof but it worth a visit.

I didn’t really know what to expect but the event was a fantastic very laid back get together for authors, publicists from Orion, journalists, bloggers and anybody who worked in the book industry. I saw a handful of familiar faces and met a few new people.  and of course there were some free books, competitions, drinks and nibbles.

If you get the chance to go the next event which is in Birmingham you should go. You can see how much fun people had with the photos I am sharing.

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Orion-2Orion-4Thanks to all involved for a brilliant evening. Hope to see you all again soon.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Thirteen is the second full length novel that I have read featuring Eddie Flynn. And what a brilliant novel it is and it has served a reminder that I need to read the two that I missed.
It is a court based drama, which you can gather from the synopsis, but the first half of the novel concerns Kane and his attempts to be part of the jury on the case involving a Hollywood celebrity. It also focuses on Eddie trying to find a way of clearing his client’s name. What the author does so well is his different personalities. He shows the ‘showbiz’ side to the top named lawyers who are only interested in getting their names in the papers and who have no interest in justice.  And he does the ones who are in a situation they have no control over. There are only a couple who do the job for the right reasons. One of these is Eddie. Eddie is different to the others, he has a conscience, a dubious past and a wrecked marriage. But he refuses to back down, believing his client is innocent.
The parts of the novel that involved Kane were sinister. The reader knows from the prologue what he is capable of and he gets worse. There is nothing that he will stop at to ensure that he will be on he jury.  I had no idea who he was or how far he would go to do this, nor did I know why. He is only ever identified as Kane, not the person he pretends to be.
I don’t read much court based drama, they sometimes feel a little cold but this series is different to all the others. This is a series that has a lawyer who despite his past and his faults, is honest, down to earth and has a good heart. He wants to earn a living, who doesn’t? but he wants to do his job to the best of his ability for the right reason.
I can’t wait to see what he gets up to next.

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The Companion by Sarah Dunnakey – Blog Tour Review.

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About the book

How do you solve a mystery when the clues are hidden in the past?

The Companion is a beautiful and powerfully-told story of buried secrets, set between the 1930s and the present day, on the wild Yorkshire moors.
Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace, the best entertainment venue in Yorkshire, complete with dancing and swing-boats and picnickers and a roller-skating rink.
Jasper Harper lives in the big house above the valley, with his eccentric mother Edie and Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors who have come from London to write in the seclusion of the moors.
When it is arranged for Billy to become Jasper’s companion, Billy arrives to find a wild, peculiar boy in a curiously haphazard household where nothing that’s meant is said and the air is thick with secrets. Later, when Charles and Edie are found dead, it is ruled a double suicide, but fictions have become tangled up in facts and it’s left to Anna Sallis, almost a century later, to unravel the knots and piece together the truth

My Review

The Companion was slightly different to what I was expecting but I enjoyed it a lot. It is a dual narrative novel with Anna in modern day and Billy in the 1930s. Anna has moved into the area to start again after suffering an emotional loss. She becomes friendly with Frank, a local man who encourages her to convince the board who have control of the old palace to open the top floor to the public.
Billy who lived in the village in the 1930s and whose family worked at the palace is told he is to become a companion to Jasper, who lives with his mother and uncle at their home High Hob which is up on the moors. At first, he misses his family and friends but settles in to his new life.
I found all three members of the family spoilt, snobbish and very unpleasant. Jasper, especially made my skin crawl. A lot of children would play games, where they would convince each other that there were wild animals in the area but he had a healthy obsession with death, cruelty and power.
I couldn’t work out what had happened. Most of what Anna learned was from passed down memories and not all of them were accurate. What you think you learned about Billy in modern day was proved to be false a few chapters later. I liked the way this was done, having worked on family history for years you always hear stories that are later proven to be inaccurate.
I liked his character a lot. He understood immediately what Jasper was capable of, had hopes for a successful future and dreamt of a life with Lizzie. His friendship with Lizzie was lovely to read but also upsetting at times.
I’ve always enjoyed a novel that covers different generations and found this novel to be remarkable. There was the 1930s where life was changing dramatically. Between the wars, and a changing approach to the way the working class enjoyed their leisure time. And then modern day, where people realized they should know more about what their predecessors did in work and leisure.
The whole area felt real. I could see the transformation of the old palace and feel the isolation of the moors and the people who lived in both. The superstitious shepherd, the cook who couldn’t cook and the maid who witnessed more than she realised.
A fascinating book about a Yorkshire community and its history. Recommended.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received

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