First Chapter First Paragraph: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Every Tuesday First Chapter, First Paragraph/Intros is hosted by Vicky of I’d Rather Be at the Beach sharing the first paragraph or two of a book she’s reading or plans to read soon.

On Sunday I thought I’d just have a quick look at Sharon Bolton’s latest book, The Craftsman and was immediately hooked and had read 20%. I’ve had to put the other books I’m reading on hold as I just have to know what happens next.


The book opens with a letter from Sharon Bolton:

Dear Reader,

On a spring day in 1612, a mill owner called Richard Baldwin, in the Pendle forest of Lancashire chased two local women off his land, calling them ‘witches and whores’, threatening to ‘burn one and hang the other’, and in so doing, set in motion events that led to the imprisonment, trial and execution of nine women on the charge of murder by witchcraft: the infamous Pendle Witch Trials.

Like Sharon Bolton the north of England is my homeland and just as she has always wanted to write a book about witches, I have always been fascinated by such books. So it’s no wonder that I am now immersed in her book. It’s not about the Pendle Witch Trials as such, but is set in the shadow of Pendle Hill and moves between the events of 1969 and 1999.

Chapter One

Tuesday, 10 August 1999

On the hottest day of the year, Larry Glassbrook has come home to his native Lancashire for the last time, and the townsfolk have turned out to say goodbye.

Not in a friendly way.

Blurb (Amazon):

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.

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?

What do you think – would you read on?

24 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

  1. I am ambivalent about this. I loved her Lacey Flint novels and enjoyed her early standalone work but haven’t thought much of her most recent books. I think I might give this a miss.


    1. I realised when I read your comment that I haven’t read Sharon Bolton’s recent books – the last books of hers I read was in 2015! and they were A Dark and Twisted Tide, a Lacey Flint novel, which I loved even though parts of it terrified me and Little Black Lies, which I didn’t really like.

      So, I’m hoping The Craftsman will be just as good as her early standalones – which I loved.


  2. Despite people loving Sharon Bolton, I haven’t been able to get away with her so I am going to pass on this one. Hope you enjoy though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ive seen Bolton’s name around a lot but have never read her. Not sure I would start with this one – the historical background is interesting but the last book I read that had a similar idea (Salem Witches) was so awful it’s put me off that story line….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t really comment on The Craftsman yet as I haven’t finished it except that I am enjoying it so far. You could try Blood Harvest, although it is a dark, scary book I found disturbing, but thoroughly absorbing, or the first Lacey Flint book, Now You See Me, even though that begins with such a brutal killing. Actually if you don’t like scary and chilling books you probably won’t like her work.


  4. If I were looking for books of this type, I would certainly be drawn in by this opening – both the opening paragraph and the letter. At the moment I feel awash with thriller/mysteries etc so I’m happy to enjoy your review of it later rather than read it for myself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve liked Bolton’s Lacey Flint work quite a lot, Margaret. And this one does have an interesting sort of premise. Your fine post is intriguing, too. Hmm…I may have to check this one out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Curious yet for some reason it doesn’t seem to be a “me” kind of book. Hoping you like it.


  7. I’m excited to read this one. Excited enough that I ordered it from Book Depository because it won’t come out here until fall. I did really like the Lacey Flint books (wonder if she’s done with her). Anyway, I’m also drawn to books about witches or supposed witches, etc. Looking forward to picking this one up soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been wanting to read this author…and thought that I had, since I read a book called Little Black Lies (she wrote a book with that title), only the one I read was from Sandra Block. Ever since, however, I’ve been eyeing Bolton’s books. This one sounds good.

    Here’s mine: “MANHATTAN BEACH”


    1. As I replied to Cafe Society I didn’t really like Sharon Bolton’s Little Black Lies, so maybe it was just as well that you read the one by Sandra Block! 🙂


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