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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,121 Ratings  ·  454 Reviews
Clara Benning, a veterinary surgeon in charge of a wildlife hospital in a small English village, is young and intelligent, but nearly a recluse. Disfigured by a childhood accident, she generally prefers the company of animals to people. But when a local man dies following a supposed snakebite, Clara’s expertise is needed. She’s chilled to learn that the victim’s postmortem ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published February 21st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Chelsea Humphrey
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first standalone novel by Sharon Bolton and also my PIFM READ for our group "A Good Thriller" for the month of January.

I'm finding this one difficult to review. On one hand, it wasn't as quick moving as her Lacey Flint series (as you can tell by the fact it took me 10 days to finish it); on the other, the story was intriguing and compelling enough to have me keep pushing forward due to the encouragement of friends who have read this before me. It definitely picked up in the second ha
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent novel by SJ Bolton. Some other reviews of this book find this novel a little slow paced but I really enjoyed it. I do enjoy fast paced novels but when a book is written so well I am also happy to take my time and enjoy it with no longing for it to finish.

In this novel a vet named Clara Benning who was disfigured as a child and has become a bit of a reclusive due to her disfigurement. The small town where she lives starts experiencing strange happenings with snakes invading the
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Dear Reader,

I'll be the first to admit that no,I didn't do my homework on this one! If I had known beforehand that snakes played a huge part in this story,(yes,you read that correctly!), then I'm not sure I'd have read it.

'Why did I buy it?',I hear you ask! Simply because it was written by the wordsmith that is SJ Bolton!

Do I regret my impulsive purchase? Not in the least,as believe if or not I found this story very interesting and deeply compelling.

Clara Benning,a wildlife vet,lives in a sma
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
A very enjoyable murder mystery - 4.5 stars.

Clara is a wildlife vet who has hidden herself away in a rural village in England and avoids people as much as possible. This is because she is scarred on one side of her face and is sick of people staring, judging and being horrible to her.

Strange things start happening in her village and people are dying which forces Clara to confront her fears and her foes.

This book is not without it flaws (a bit rambling in places and somewhat far-fetched) but I re
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rating: 4.5 stars

As my brother said when he was little: me no ikey nakes. They give me major heebie jeebies. They make me shudder. I can't even look at them on TV, and only a madman would even suggest I go into a reptile house.

So knowing this book has snakes as a main character, whatever made me read it? The answer is simple: SJ Bolton. I’ve read two of her tension-filled books this year (Sacrifice and Blood Harvest) and she’s become one of my fave authors. Snakes or not, I wasn’t going to miss
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid 4...maybe even a 4.5.

Sharon Bolton is a very talented writer who can pen a tale of mystery and suspense with the best of them. Not only are her prose a pleasure to read, but her characters are generally interesting and multidimensional. This particular story line is well-developed and believable. In this tale of snakes (both reptile and human), her attention to detail is quite impressive. She obviously spent a lot of time researching snakes, and it paid off.

This was a little slow at first,
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a way, S. J. Bolton's second published novel AWAKENING is a coming-of-age story. The protag and narrator of the tale is a reclusive wildlife veterinarian, Clara Benning, unmarried daughter of an archdeacon. She practices in a remote British village and prefers her mute swans and baby owl chicks to people. But several invasions of snakes into the village and the death of three old people, once parishioners of a church burned to the ground fifty years prior, change her life.

Additionally, the no
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of this author’s books I’ve read and her writing has made me a fan. I found her first book Sacrifice equally compelling and readable.

This well paced thriller, set in small English village introduces us to a young, reclusive, veterinary surgeon who has been deeply scarred by an event from her childhood. A number of strange occurrences involving snakes draw Clara into investigating the mysteries with interesting results.

I was impressed with the amount of interesting facts about
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Another great book by S.J. Bolton, this one is really a 3.5 star rating for me but I don't have that option and it's closer to a 4 star than a 3 star book. As always I can connect well with the characters in the book, especially Clara who is central to the book. I find that it's easy to read her books and the pace of the book cracks along. The research done into snakes for this book is impressive and I am now fairly well versed in many things snake related, I might even be able to know what type ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The personal struggle of Clara is very recognizable. Clara is doing great solving this "snaky" mystery.
Sean Peters
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After reading four SJ Bolton books in a row, although this is the most successful of her books, I found it the weakest.

You expect the standard to be high, and this was only her second book, Sacrifice meaning her first.

But I think she had got stronger with her last three books.

I found this one a little heavier and slower, and a little over the top.

But it did still build to a fast paced last few chapters.

Now reading Sacrifice.

Her new novel is also just out.


ashley c
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Bolton writes in this novel a gothic-esque story about a protagonist, a reptile expert whose face was scarred since birth, getting involved in investigating snakes killing people in her small village.

(It's midnight, I'm tired, and I'm going to be very short and hopefully succinct in my review.)

I've grew a bit out of gothic horror and I'm not a fan of stories centered around religious nutcases, dank, dark cellars, and brothers with mental impairments used as killing tools, so by what should have
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a massive Sharon Bolton fan and for the longest of times I’ve been missing this book from my collection. Having now picked it up, I can say that all her books are truly brilliant. If you have never picked up a Sharon Bolton book I highly recommend doing so: they really are great. Whilst Awakening may not be my favourite of her books, it is another gripping tale.

A tale which is no good for those individuals who have a fear of snakes, may I quickly point out.

Awakening starts off slower than ot
Snakes alive! I couldn't resist that opening, as snakes abound in this thrilling tale of Bolton's. There is so much beyond the great mystery to absorb in this novel. I learned much about snakes, other wildlife, and the extreme Pentecostal church branches. I was especially taken with the character development of Clara, her metamorphic transformation. A defining quality of Bolton's writing is the strong female lead, something that she does exceedingly well. Now that I've read all three of S.J. Bol ...more
Snakes, strong sense of place, and American Pentecostal faith: this is a creepy, clever, and chilling book. I found myself loving Clara and her vulnerability mixed with profound competence and strength. It's a great read and one that fans of suspense will adore. If you're afraid of snakes, this is either a great or a terrible book for you!
Bu yorumu Kitap Esintisi sayfasında bulabilirsiniz.

Uzun zamandır çevrilmesini beklediğim bir yazardı S.J. Bolton. Eğer önceki kitabı Kurban'ı okuduysanız bu hevesimin nedenini anlayacaksınız. İlk kitabını bitirdiğimde polisiye yazarlarıma yeni birini ekledim diyerek kitabı bırakmıştım, çünkü şu "kalemi kuvvetli" diyebileceğimiz tabir bu yazar için bir hayli geçerli.

Bu kitabında da hayal kırıklığına uğramadım. Kitap yılanlarla geçiyor, kitaptaki karakterler ve yılanlarla ilişkileri kitabın temas
Sercan Vatansever
Öncelikle bir kaç cümleyle konuya değineyim;

Küçük bir kasabada yaşayan Clara Benning, son derece içine kapanık, yüzünde ciddi sorunları olan işkolik bir veteriner. Sıradan bir gününde komşusu, Clara'dan bebeğinin yatağında bulunan yılan için yardım istiyor. Clara bu durumu garipsese de, pek önemsemiyor. Akşamın geç saatlerinde başka bir komşusunun evini basan zehirsiz yılanların arasında, dünyanın en zehirli yılanlarından biri olan taipan yılanını bulunca, bir şeyler döndüğünü anlıyor. Bundan
Nov 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very exciting page-turner with some well-handled side-lights and carefully researched lore, primarily about snakes, but also about snake-handling Protestant sects. The protagonist is Clara Benning, a young, country veterinarian in the southwest of England, who (we gradually learn) has spent her life avoiding humans because of her terribly disfigured face. We only gradually learn about the cause and extent of her scarring, and the author paces the revelations very artfully. Clara unwillingly be ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Bolton's Flint series, it is hard not to compare this earlier work. While it was well written and I enjoyed it, the suspense didn't really kick in until more than half way into the book. I think the beginning groundwork might have been a bit too long.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I very much dislike snakes this probably wasn't the best book to read but it made the story even more scary. Kept thinking I knew who the bad guy was but kept getting it wrong. Good story though hope I don't get nightmares about snakes lol.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Bolton has become my favorite author. Her books are perfectly attuned to my writing palette - clear, concise, and a little quirky. I consume her books like candy - without any of the post-candy-binge guilt.

Clara is a deeply flawed protagonist, a little reminiscent of Lacey Flint, though maybe not so unreliable a narrator. She has a nasty scar along one side of her face and a crippling insecurity to go with it. Clara works as a wildlife vet, and when snakes start appearing in odd places (
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a big fan of Sharon Bolton’s mysteries and I love the way she writes her female leads. The Lacey Flint series was my intro to Bolton but I’m finding I really enjoy her stand-alones as well.

This is one of her earlier books (maybe her her 2nd?) and I had the Twist figured out earlier than usual, but it is still a super tense and CREEPY ride. This book is a definite page-turner; I was roped into the story almost immediately and found it hard to put down. Warning: if you have a fear of snakes t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Ho conosciuto Sharon Bolton cinque anni fa perché la copertina del libro, "Sacrificio", era fighissima; mi sono innamorata del libro e per lungo tempo ho provato un po' di nostalgia all'idea che questo fosse stato un one-shot dell'autrice e invece no: qui da noi i (pochi) libri tradotti sono passati in sordina per far posto agli autoruncoli da due soldi "un sacco fyghi" di oggi -_-
Case editrici, librerie.. vi odio!
Vabbé, non vi dico la felicità nel vedermi la Bolton al mercatino dell'usato!
La Bo
Clodagh Phelan
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
A tense mystery. An endearing heroine.

Awakening Awakening is a great read. The opening preview is wonderfully tense. Intriguing and different, it whets your appetite so that you want to read more. However, next comes Chapter One, which takes you back to events six days earlier. So you have to restrain your impatience and wait. Which you do. For now, of course, you are hooked.

And keep on being so because this first chapter is equally strange and compelling – ‘How did it all begin? Well I suppose
This is an early stand alone Gothic mystery by Sharon Bolton. I enjoy these more than her Lacy Flint series, maybe because I found Clara Benning inthe Awakening a more sympathetic and likeable person than Lacy.
Clara is a veterinarian who works at a clinic that treats only injured and sick wild animals. I hope such clinics really exist. All Bolton's leading female characters seem to have deep emotional or physical problems. In Clara's case one side of her face was so badly damaged when she was
First Sentence: The darkest hour I’ve ever known began last Thursday, a heartbeat before the sun came up.

Clara Benning is a veterinary surgeon who, due to a childhood accident, chooses to spend her time working with a wildlife hospital and living as a near recluse in her small village near the boundaries of Devon and Dorset England. Grass snakes are common in that area, but not when they invade households en masse. Even less common is when a resident dies by the bite of a black adder as many tim
Jun 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Claire Benning is a damaged, isolated and almost monastic veterinary wildlife surgeon. The organization she works at rehabilitates injured and sick wildlife, and she spends her days saving everyone from badgers to roe deer. When a neighbor in her tiny village dies of snakebite, Claire is asked in for a consult as the local snake expert. She finds the victim has died of the snake venom, but of much higher concentrations than is possible from one snake. As it becomes apparent that a human, not a s ...more
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Sharon's newest book Dead Woman Walking is now available for pre-order and is out on the 20th April 2017! PLUS Pre-order now and you will receive The Lacey Flint Wedding story for FREE! (see Sharon's website
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Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a c
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