Friday, May 13, 2022

Review: "The Master Craftsman" by Kelli Stuart

Man, does Kelli Stuart write a good novel! I loved both Like a River from Its Course and A Silver Willow by the Shore, so when I heard she had a new novel coming out, it made its way to the top of my TBR. What I didn't anticipate, though, was just how much fun I would have reading this book!

In 1917, Alma Pihl, a master craftsman in the House of Fabergé, was charged to protect one of the greatest secrets in Russian history--an unknown Fabergé Egg that Peter Karl Fabergé secretly created to honor his divided allegiance to both the people of Russia and the Imperial tsar's family. When Alma and her husband escaped Russia for their native Finland in 1921, she took the secret with her, guarding her past connection to the Romanov family. 

Three generations later, world-renowned treasure hunter Nick Laine is sick and fears the secret of the missing egg will die with him. With time running out, he entrusts the mission of retrieving the egg to his estranged daughter, Ava, who has little idea of the dangers she is about to face. As the stakes are raised, Ava is forced to declare her own allegiance--and the consequences are greater than she could have imagined.

This modern-day treasure hunt from award-winning author Kelli Stuart transports you into the opulent and treacherous world of the Russian Revolution to unearth mysteries long buried.

The Master Craftsman is a split time novel taking place in the early 1900's and the present. The present story centers around twenty-something Ava, who partners with her estranged, dying father, the famous treasure hunter Nick Laine, in his search for a secret Fabergé egg - one that has connections to their family. The story in the past is told from several perspectives, but mainly Karl Fabergé's, in the years leading up to and during the Russian Revolution. 

I loved every second I spent reading this novel - even when it seemed a little too Mission Impossible/National Treasure/name your own adventure thriller and when I guessed two fairly big plot twists. Why wasn't I bothered? Because I loved the story, the history, the treasure hunt so much! This novel, while so much fun to read, isn't nearly as deep or difficult or affecting as the other Kelli Stuart novels I've read, which is just fine with me. It's a different type of story for a different type of day. But it's written just as well as her other novels, and the setting (in both time periods) feels completely authentic.

Also, I took way too many breaks while reading to look up various Fabergé eggs, and I also learned a little history along the way. I would call that a win - it's not often that a novel causes me to do more research on my own. 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book (Amazon ad).

Read my reviews of Like a River from Its Course (5 stars), and A Silver Willow by the Shore (4-1/2 stars).

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in English Professional Writing, and a minor in the Russian language, Kelli has honed her skills in the written word through editing, ghostwriting, blogging, and traveling the world.

Kelli is the bestselling author of the novels Like a River From Its Course (2017 Carol Award winner for Best Historical Fiction), A Silver Willow by the Shore (2020 recipient of the IPPY Award for Literary Fiction and an NIEA winner), and The Fabulous Freaks of Monsieur Beaumont. Kelli co-authored It's a Wonderful Christmas, a collection of holiday novellas inspired by favorite Christmas films. In 2022, Kelli's fourth novel, The Master Craftsman releases.

Kelli is also co-author of the nonfiction book Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom with Wendy Speake.

Kelli currently lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband and five children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I just started this one last night!

    1. I hope you enjoy it! It was such a pleasant surprise :-)


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