That Bonesetter Woman – Frances Quinn

Published By: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 448
Released On: 21/07/2022

It’s usual, they say, for a young person coming to London for the first time to arrive with a head full of dreams. Well, Endurance Proudfoot did not. When she stepped off the coach from Sussex, on a warm and sticky afternoon in the summer of 1757, it never occurred to her that the city would be the place where she’d make her fortune; she was just very annoyed to be arriving there at all.
Meet Endurance Proudfoot: clumsy as a carthorse, strong as an ox, with a tactless tongue and a face she’s sure only a mother could love. Durie wants one thing in life: to become a bonesetter like her father. It’s physically demanding work, requiring nerves of steel, and he’s adamant it’s not a job for a woman.

Strong-willed and stubborn, Durie’s certain that in bonesetting, her big, usually clumsy hands have found their natural calling. So when she’s bundled off to London with her beautiful sister, she won’t let it stop her realising her dream. As her sister finds fame on the stage, Durie becomes England’s most celebrated bonesetter – but what goes up must come down, and her success may become her undoing.

Inspired by the true stories of two of Georgian England’s most famous celebrities, That Bonesetter Woman is an uplifting tale about finding the courage to go your own way, when everyone says you can’t – and about realising that what makes you different can also make you strong.


Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

If you had to invite one of the greatest storytellers round for dinner…….what would you serve to Frances Quinn?

I absolutely adored her debut novel The Smallest Man and was beyond overjoyed to receive a copy of this new one. I am in awe at her ability to write about historical times – fictional or based on truth – and make them fun and modern and approachable, especially younger readers who many find anything set in the 1700s a bit dull. In the right hands, it is anything but dull, and Frances definitely has the right hands.

I’m so jealous of how talented she is at writing and storytelling. What I’d give to sit and have a cuppa with her to pick her brain. Just two novels in, she’s definitely up there with my favourite authors. The kind of author that means I buy everything I ever write and try to thrust the books under people’s noses.

I really loved the character of Durie. She is the heroine of our story so it’s not surprising we all want to root for her. I think she could be a new heroine for today’s readers. Okay so she may not do anything earth shattering, but in the 1700s, she stands up to her family, she enters a male profession, she does what can do to live the life she wants, not backing down from what she wants, and I think that’s important to see in fiction. It’s not feminism to shove down peoples throats or to tick boxes. It’s feminism that is needed to survive.

I didn’t like Lucinda from the off. She was entitled and spoiled and far too self-cantered for me. Even when she tries to turn herself around, I still wasn’t a fan of her. The same for their Aunt. She blew hot and cold for me. I enjoyed her characterisation immensely, but every now and then she’d do something or say something that irked me. There were a few other characters I have choice opinions on but to voice them would be to spoil the plot so I shall hold back on them.

The chapters are relatively short which is always a bonus in my book. The book, at 448 pages is longer than ones I normally enjoy, but the short chapters help it seem fast and snappy, and it never drags on. The thing about short chapters that I like so much, is that you can read a couple in the evening and then put it down, revisiting it in the morning for a couple more chapters. But I should have known with Frances’ writing, it’s not easy to put it down. Which is why I managed to get through it in a day, as it was so tantalising and thrilling, I just had to know what happened to our cast.

Before this, I had no knowledge of bonesetters at all, so this has given me a new interest, especially in female bonesetters, and female physicians, and generally, in females who stood up to the norm. This is what she did with her first book. It’s based on truth, a truth that has gone unheard, and so you feel like you’re being entertained and educated at the same time, and that’s a fine balance to find. Much like her first book, I think this would make a stupendous movie or television series. It’s so visual, it’s all there, down to the touch of the clothes on the characters’ backs, the smell of the streets, the insults in the coffee shop and the power of our protagonist.

I will certainly be recommending this to all my family and friends as one of THE books of 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: