The Clockmaker's Daughterby Published 09 Oct 2018
|The Clockmaker's Daughter.pdf|
My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?
Book of the Month cover record is here
The Clockmaker's Daughter Reviews
When it comes to an author like Kate Morton readers should be well aware that they will find great writing when picking up a new book and that was still the case with The Clockmaker’s Daughter. However, even with lovely writing sometimes things just don’t work for some readers and that would be my dilemma with this one.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction read told from multiple points of view over the course of decades. In the present Elodie Winslow is going through an old satchel when she comes across a few items that draw her interest. Readers are then taken back to the mid 1800s to the Birchwood Manor and the mystery that surrounds it.
Now, normally I am one that can love a story with multiple characters and multiple timelines however it all depends on the way things are done. With this story the author has taken multiple to a whole new level in the fact I found it hard to keep track of so many characters coming into the story. Sometimes I would get the feeling I may need to take notes and then reading feels more like homework than relaxation.
With so much going on I had a hard time connecting to the characters and story with struggling to keep up too. Quite often I wouldn’t know who I was following and for me I prefer a clearer style to follow. In the end I’d say this one just wasn’t my cup of tea but I’m sure some readers will love it.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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3.7 Stars* (rounded up)
My First Kate Morton: Lyrical, Magical and Mysterious.
While conducting her work in London, Elodie, an Archivist, discovers a painting of a woman, along with a drawing of a house, set alongside a river. Both intrigue her and she must find out more about them. One hundred and fifty years prior, Edward Radcliffe a young artist spent time at Birchwood Manor where he planned to paint and to dream. Something however went awry, leaving Edward’s life in tatters.
Elodie is swept away by her research, by the mystery and by another life which seems much more exciting than her own.
The storytelling is vivid and the loss is incomprehensible. There is love, lots of secrets, a murder and believe it or not, a ghost! The setting is breathtaking and lush: Birchwood Manor, London and The Thames River! “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is a complex tale that was a bit slow moving for me, however the prose was quite lovely and the writing was unforgettable.
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Morton for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on Goodreads on 11.1.18.
Kate Morton writes a beautiful piece of epic interconnected historical fiction, with a strong fantastical element, through the ages, with the focus on the rambling Birchwood Manor by the Thames. In 1862, the owner of the Manor, the gifted artist, Edward Radcliffe, and a group of bohemian artists spend the summer there, hoping to be artistically inspired. However, it all ends in catastrophe as a woman is murdered, plus the orphaned artistic muse, Birdie Bell, the clockmaker's daughter, disappears suspected of the theft and Edward's life is shattered into pieces. What really happened? In the present, a young London archivist on the cusp of getting married, Elodie Winslow, is trawling through the archives of James Stratton, and in a leather satchel finds a photograph of a Victorian woman and a sketchbook with the drawing of a home by the river, which somehow feels familiar.
With multiple narrators, we learn of the history of Birchwood Manor, those who have resided there through the generations and their lives, intrigue and difficulties, throughout with the ghostly presence of Birdie Bell. All these disparate stories over time come to connect. Elodie delves into the mystery of the items in the satchel, unaware of her personal family connection and how her investigations will impact on her future and personal life. This is a story of Birchwood Manor, murder, mystery, theft, secrets, lies, art, love, loss and both world wars. The author gives us rich historical details in a narrative that goes back and forth in time in this atmospheric and complex tale. I found this novel entertaining and absorbing if a trifle over long. Many thanks to Panmacmillan for an ARC.
Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors, and when The Clockmaker's Daughter came out this year, I was one of the first to jump on NetGalley to get a copy. I was so excited to be awarded the book and added it to my August reading queue. It made for a good alternate style given I'm also running a children's book readathon this month! Although not my favorite of all her novels, it's an enchanting story and covers a lot of beautiful generations within a couple of families...
What I loved the most about this book was how you never quite knew who was speaking in the beginning of a chapter. It took a few paragraphs or a page or two before it became obvious. Some might be bothered by this approach, but it added to mystery and ambiance for me. The Radcliffe family was quite peculiar, and I wondered whether it would turn out to be accidental death or murder for one or two characters. As the story unfolds and we learned about Elodie in 2017/8 discovering the past, everything comes flooding forward. There are memorable characters in this book and I recommend it for that reason alone. On the flip side, there are over 30 main characters, so it gets a tad difficult to keep focused if you have to put the book down for more than a day at a time. Don't read it with anything else like I did.
Morton is the queen of lyrical words and astounding settings. The plot is strong, and the twist at the end is great. Along the path, it's much lighter tho... less about the mystery and more about hearing what happened to people over a century. I found myself eager for more action than present in the book. But it still captured my heart and attention. A solid 4 stars.
A beautifully told story about a house, a love, and a ghost....
This is my third Kate Morton book and just as her previous books were this book was a slow burn... some books are a quick little getaway this book was a journey... The journey of a house and it’s ghost, through many decades and many eyes.... an old-fashioned love story, a contemporary mystery, and so much inbetween... This story really is like a complicated and beautiful weaving... at the beginning there are so many threads none of them seeming to be connected.... but as Kate Morton begins to work the loom and weave the story together, a beautiful picture is formed... just remember when you pick this book up sometimes weaving takes some patients and effort, but the end result is so worth it!
A love story, a ghost story, a murder, a theft, a complex plot.... this book is crammed full of interesting characters with interesting lives and if I’m being completely honest sometimes we did not get to explore those lives as thoroughly as I would have liked.... The two constant characters in this book were unlikely, the house and the ghost... both were extremely engaging and intriguing, and both had a story of their own... and as the characters traveled in and out of this house through time we really saw them through the eyes of the House and the ghost... an extremely well done go story, it will make you a believer, it really was never over the top.... a perfect addition to an October read....
As much as I appreciated this book when I finished... I have to admit it was a little tough to get into in the beginning... there are a lot of characters and it seemed a little jarring and disjointed, but I had to trust... trust that Kate Morton would bring this all together and at about 30% she really did, The picture began to come together.... and at the end of the book it was quite an exquisite picture indeed!
Absolutely recommend to fans of this author and to those of you who have the patience and passion for a complex book that spans many lives and a century and a half ...
*** A huge thank you to Atria for my copy ***