The Clockmaker's Daughter - Kate Morton
My Review - 3 Stars
I’ve been a huge Kate Morton fan ever since I discovered The Distant Hours several years ago. I quickly read the two novels before that and then have waited not so patiently for every release since so when I got the opportunity to read her newest, I was over the moon. And this may be where my high expectations got me in to trouble.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is structured so differently from Morton’s other work and I’m curious what led to that decision. I’m all in favor of writers challenging themselves. However, in this case—and it pains me to say it—it didn’t work.
Like her other work, we get past-present storylines revolving around a mystery. Unlike her other work, there are multiple narrators and here’s where it got tricky. The timeline shifted around as much as the narrators, which made shifting between past and present jarring and at times confusing. There’s also one narrator who readers will either find intriguing or gimmicky. I was intrigued at first but found it didn’t work for me by the end.
This may also be because I found less of a connection between the present narrator Elodie and the past narrators. Elodie’s lackluster engagement really detracted from my enjoyment of her storyline. She so clearly did not want to marry this guy and I didn’t understand why she was going along with it. I was annoyed with her for using the mystery as an excuse for not dealing with her life. But that could just be me.
Morton is a gifted writer and I enjoyed seeing the way she crafted her sentences and built the plot, just as usual. The Clockmaker’s Daughter has some interesting things to say about class, privilege, and the things we do to survive.
There was a neat reveal or two along the way as the mystery unfolded. When we ultimately learned what happened, I was both horrified and let down. It seemed so utterly ordinary—therein lay the horror—but it also didn’t entirely hold up.
If you’re a Morton fan, go in with low expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised. This may have been a misstep for me but I still look forward to whatever she has for us next.
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.
Buy The Book Here:
Disclosure: I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.