The Clockmaker's Daughterby Published 09 Oct 2018
|The Clockmaker's Daughter.pdf|
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.
"The Clockmaker's Daughter" Reviews
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.
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.
A romantic love story, a mystery and a murder
Birchwood Manor is located near the Thames and it is at the center of this story and it also holds the truth about what happened one summer in 1862. The house is like a character and has "a voice" that whispers to the reader and makes connections that won't be revealed until later. I kept asking myself, "who is speaking"? That will be revealed later.
The story spans from the 1860's to present day and artist, Edward Radcliffe is at the heart of the mystery. He has found the love of his life, but will his heart will be broken? This part of the story felt old-fashioned and romantic. The characters in the present day story felt very modern and I was intrigued to find out what the connections between past and present were.
This is my first Kate Morton book and it was such an atmospheric, detailed and absorbing tale. There was intrigue, mystery and a rich setting that I could picture perfectly in my mind. I thought the characters were interesting and I wanted to learn what would happen to them in the end. This is not a fast paced page-turner, it is more like a slow brewing mystery. I took my time and enjoyed this one.
Yes, there are lots of characters and two time periods, but the author was able to capture my imagination. I wanted to keep turning the pages to learn the secrets of the mansion. I also enjoyed gathering the many clues that were revealed along the way.
I enjoyed getting immersed in the characters and unraveling the extensive plot. The rich details of this beautifully written novel were an added bonus.
Thanks to Atria for my copy. Review will post to my blog on publication date 10/02/2018.
The discovery of an old photograph kicks off this account about the inhabitants of a manor house which eventually contains a mannerly prescence. An archivist, archeologist, painter and pick pocket are among the people that pepper this tale. Moving between the late 1850’s, early 1860’s, post WWI, WWII and the summer of 2017, Morton’s plot is typically dense and contains a wide variety of characters with fuzzy familial and tangential relationships. Some characters are introduced only to have their storylines dropped or underdeveloped. This highly anticipated novel will, no doubt, thrill Morton’s fans. Initially I was engaged but ultimately I was not overly enthused.
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.