Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Review: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

Title: The Clockmaker's Daughter
Author: Kate Morton
Published: October 2018, Atria Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 496 pages
Source: Publisher

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860's until the present day. 

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?

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.

My thoughts: This was one of my most anticipated reads of October and one of the books I was most excited to pick up at Book Expo this past Spring. I even had the pleasure of meeting, albeit briefly, the lovely Kate Morton, and getting my copy signed! While this is only the second book of hers I have read, I was super excited to say hi to her and tell her how much I loved The Forgotten Garden and that I own all her other books - and you can be sure those other books have been moved up in status and are now classified as must-be-read-soon!

This latest book by Kate Morton is just what I remember about her writing - a multi-layered novel with complicated characters that are intricately woven together. It is definitely a book that requires some patience and concentration, but once you become involved in the book, I think you will be hard-pressed to walk away. I was immediately wrapped up in the story line and found myself wondering just how everything would tie-in, and at times, I did become a bit impatient when another new character would be introduced, but I soon became so wrapped up in their story that I forgot all about the end game and just enjoyed the story for what it was.

Kate Morton has a way of immersing you into the story, transporting you back and forth between the different time periods and then bringing the mysterious narrator - who is not revealed until midway - back time and time again to tie in everything.  And I loved that the house, Birchwood Manor, becomes a character itself. This house has seen it all...it knows all the great secrets of all the people who have come to visit or stay. 

I don't even think I could name a favorite character because each time I came to fall in love with one, another would be introduced and I would immediately become enchanted with them so that in the end, I just ended up enjoying each and every one of the characters and their stories. And as each of the character's stories are told and their connections slowly start to connect, you are left in awe, and a bit in suspense.

This book combines mystery, murder, love and loss, art and local folklore to tell an absolutely enchanting tale that will have you completely engaged from start to finish. It is the kind of book that for as big as it is, you don't want it to end...it is that good! I loved every minute that I spent with these characters and know that this book will have a cherished spot on my bookshelf and will most definitely be reread again in the future. I definitely recommend picking this one up! 



  1. I have this - bought it, and then was a little distressed at some of the reviews. But I can see the key is concentration and work on behalf of the reader to mine the gem. Thanks Kristin.

  2. Over the past couple of years I have truly fallen in love with Kate Morton's books, and am all caught up on her releases, except this one - I'm keen to add it to my collection. Great review!

  3. I have been feeling some of your impatience and frustration, but I'm starting the last part today, so things should wrap up nicely. I have read all her books, The Forgotten Garden is definitely my favorite


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