Book: The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Author: Kate Morton
Published: October 9, 2018 (Canada)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction (Historical, Mystery, Literary)
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 a 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?
Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter. (Goodreads)
My rating: 4 stars
It was lovely. Definitely recommend.
I adore Kate Morton’s books. And when I saw that she had a new one coming out – oh my goodness – I got so excited. Her books weave mystery, romance, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction together in rivers of flowing prose and gorgeous countryside.
And The Clockmaker’s Daughter is no exception. It is a brilliant book.
Probably the most complex of all of Kate Morton’s novels, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is elegant and serpentine.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of. A lot. As the synopsis says, the multitude of voices are from across time. This is normal for Kate Morton books. What is different from her previous books, is just how many characters and times there are. 2017. 1992. 1940. 1928. 1862. 1850. And, through it all, Birdie who is beyond time.
While the story centers around two key characters: Elodie and Birdie, there is a good 200 or so pages in which Elodie’s 2017 part of the story is not told. Instead, the story jumps around the past and the various characters whose stories interweave as parts of the mystery Elodie is trying to solve.
For some, this many characters and this many story threads is too many. For me, while it was a little confusing at times, it was lovely. I quite like how complex Kate Morton’s books are. She truly knows how to weave stories together to create brilliant whole. But, her book are also books that I find more enjoyable when I can sit and read them in as few sittings as possible. Not easy with a 500 page novel, but it does allow for a better reading experience. The complexity of the story is easier to navigate when you read it in one sitting, rather than over the course of a few weeks. Hence, why I spent about 75% of my Sunday powering through this book.
This story is all about art and beauty, truth and light, love and loss. It all ties up wonderfully at the end with a few surprises and a few bits that I figured out. But, as always with Kate Morton’s work, I was satisfied.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter releases: September 12 (Australia/New Zealand), September 20 (UK/Ireland), October 9 (Canada/USA)
Hear Kate talk about the book in this great video on her website.
Buy on Book Depository. Free shipping worldwide. (Note: the three regions all have different covers.)