I received this book for free from NetGalley, Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
Published by Atria Books on 10/09/2018
Genres: Adult, Gothic Fiction
Source: NetGalley, Edelweiss
Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy on Amazon
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.
Kate Morton’s books have always held a special place on my bookshelf, and her words a special place in my heart. She has the ability to weave such interesting stories, decades or centuries apart, and keep you hooked on as many timelines as she’ll give you, as many characters as needed, as many chapters as necessary – a feat that eludes some authors. Dual timelines are certainly not for everyone, and even as much as I love the plot device, more often than not I find myself highly invested in one and only reading the other just to get back to the good stuff. That’s never been the case for Morton, though, and I’m glad – because she brought out ALL the timelines for this one.
When I first read the synopsis, I got a vibe similar to Tana French’s The Likeness, or Donna Tartt’s Secret History (which, to be fair, I have not personally read BUT I have heard is similar to plot to The Likeness). A group of individuals runs away and creates their own home, their own family, their own retreat, just for a little bit – but inevitably it all goes wrong. However, after getting about 25% into the book, I realized that while the synopsis of the book wasn’t wrong, and wasn’t exactly deliberately misleading, this book only barely resembled The Likness / The Secret History. For that matter, it had a lot less resemblance to Morton’s previous works, as well. I know that won’t work for every Morton fan, but I ate it up – every POV, every timeline, every chapter that led me in another direction than I was expecting and away from where I wanted to go.
The thing that stayed with me long after closing this book, like all of Morton’s other books, was the characters – and there is a hefty cast in this novel.
Birdie, the clockmaker’s daughter.
Elodie. Lucy. Leonard. Tip. Juliet. Edward. Ada.
And, amazingly, Birchwood Manor. (It’s not as though Morton has created the idea that a place, a home, an idea, can be a character – but she does it so beautifully here that it seems necessary to add “amazingly” as a descriptor.) In a way, that I can’t explain so as not to give away secrets the book will divulge in it’s own time, the manor house itself becomes the narrator of the character’s stories. Watching the lives of the various characters weave in and out of the house’s history over 150 years was such an enjoyable experience for me.
I read the first two of Morton’s books (The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden) sometime in 2007 and immediately fell in love with her writing, with her stories, with her characters. The Distant Hours was just as good, if not better, than her first two, and then – and then. The Secret Keeper blew me away – it is still to date one of the books that I am able to successfully hand-sell the most at my bookstore. Following The Secret Keeper was a tough task, and honestly The Lake House let me down a little bit – it still had all the signature touches of a Morton but it was too neat, too easy, too … something. Or not enough of something. I had a lot of anticipation riding on this most recent release and there’s honestly nothing to say other than I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to have a finished copy in my hands!
Have you read any books by Kate Morton? If yes, which is your favorite???