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?
The Clockmaker's Daughter Reviews
Evocatively atmospheric. Exquisitely detailed. Brilliantly narrated.
Let me start by stating, I love Kate Morton! She is one of my most favourite authors! I have read and loved all of her books. This one, although not the full 5 stars I was hoping for, does not disappoint. I devoured this lengthy novel in days, putting aside all other reading to truly focus on her luscious and delectable writing. This novel stole time away from things I should have been doing, while at the same time I was trying to truly savour every single word of Kate Morton’s brilliance.
This is a multigeneration saga that expands well over 100 years involving love, loss, mystery, murder, art and many hidden secrets. Each timeline adds a deeper layer to this intricately woven and highly detailed story. There are multiple characters and a most memorable and divine English countryside setting that had me swooning. Birchwood Manor, the main setting throughout this novel, is a character of its own and I fell in love with this old mansion that held many secrets.
I was engrossed within this mysterious tale from start to finish. There were a few times, I had to stop and reread sections, as I found myself slightly confused within a few timelines and characters, however, my attention didn’t waver. It was a fully satisfying and memorable read that I would highly recommend.
This was a Traveling Sister read. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit our blog at:
Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Kate Morton for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is AVAILABLE NOW!
First of all, I want to say that I am a HUGE Kate Morton fan. I have loved pretty much every book she has written, and I have recommended her books to so many people. That said, The Clockmaker's Daughter is a major disappointment. I could barely finish it and only kept going because it was Kate Morton, and I was sure it would get better. It didn't.
There are far too many characters to keep track of in this story, and there are at least four or five different time periods that you are randomly whipped to and from. There were so many times reading this book where I had to stop and think "Wait...who is this person again?" or "Where are we now?"
The bigger problem is that, unlike Morton's previous books, I didn't really care about the mystery at the center of the story all that much. And the shocking reveals that are at the heart of so many of Morton's books were not all that shocking at all.
I guess Morton has become so successful that her publisher thinks she doesn't need editing. But a firm editor is exactly what this book needed. Well, here's hoping her next book is a return to form.
Well, I guess you can tell from my rating that this wasn’t my favorite book by Morton, but it wasn’t bad. Maybe my expectations were simply not in the right place, but I had a difficult time following the jumping timelines and in turn, connecting with the characters. I’ll think on this one a bit more before writing a full review, but fans of her previous work might be appreciative to know going into this that it’s a bit different than her other novels. Full review to come.
*I received a review copy from the publisher.
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.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton is a 2018 Atria Books publication.
As the early reviews for this book started to trickle in, I was concerned by too many opening lines that began with: ‘I love Kate Morton’s books, she is one of my favorite authors, but…’
In a year where I’ve been very disappointed in some of my favorite authors, I was terrified it was about to happen again. However, I was determined to keep an open mind, and still eagerly anticipated reading this one. But, by the time the book made it to the top of the heap, I also felt a great deal of trepidation.
The writing, as always, is simply mesmerizing. Morton’s prose is eloquent and often a thing of beauty. But, the story, this time around, failed to draw me in. I even put the book aside for a while and picked it back up in October hoping the ghostly theme would fit into my fall and Halloween frame of mind.
Sadly, I still struggled with it, mightily. For one thing, the pacing is too slow, and there is that large cast of characters, something I tend to struggle with, even under the best of circumstances. I often complain I'm not receiving enough of a challenge in my books. I feel authors often dumb things down for mass consumption, but in this case, I had to work entirely too hard to piece the puzzle together. As embarrassing as it is to admit, when I finished the book I was just plain confused. I had to go back and re-read large portions of the story before it finally came together for me. After all that labor, the ending was very anticlimactic, unsatisfactory, and literally limped across the finish line.
I’ve put off writing this review because I just didn’t feel up to the grueling exercise of trying to articulate my thoughts, especially since, like so many others, Morton is one my all -time favorite writers. Her talent is still quite evident, but with Morton, who is the opposite of prolific, I will have the taste of this book in my mouth for a long time before she provides me with an opportunity to rinse it out.
However, I do think I may still have one of her back-listed titles languishing in my TBR pile, so maybe that will help cleanse the palate until Morton offers more sustenance- hopefully, sooner, rather than later.
2.5 rounded up- mainly because the prose is second to none