Cover Image: The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter

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Member Reviews

3.7 Stars* (rounded up)

My First Kate Morton:  Lyrical, Magical and Mysterious. 

While conducting her work in London, Elodie, an Archivist, discovers a painting of a woman, along with a drawing of a house, set alongside a river.  Both intrigue her and she must find out more about them.   One hundred and fifty years prior, Edward Radcliffe a young artist spent time at Birchwood Manor where he planned to paint and to dream.  Something however went awry, leaving Edward’s life in tatters.  

Elodie is swept away by her research, by the mystery and by another life which seems much more exciting than her own.  

The storytelling is vivid and the loss is incomprehensible.  There is love, lots of secrets, a murder and believe it or not, a ghost!   The setting is breathtaking and lush:  Birchwood Manor, London and The Thames River!   “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is a complex tale that was a bit slow moving for me, however the prose was quite lovely and the writing was unforgettable.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Morton for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads on 11.1.18.
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I've read many Kate Morton books and of them all, I think this one is my favorite. That said, it's not a light beach read. There are many shifts in time and many characters, so you've got to pay attention, but it all comes together in the end. I found it to be a rich, multi-layered story centered primarily around one location. If you enjoy puzzles, you'll most likely enjoy this. I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The Clockmaker's Daughter is a novel that spans time, but most of the story revolves around one house, Birchwood Manor. Kate Morton's fans will appreciate the scope of this epic story, and marvel at the connections she creates. This is a must read for historical fiction lovers!
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🕰 BOOK REVIEW 🕰     ⭐️⭐️/5 

🕰 I’ve been reading reviews saying “if you don’t like this book, it’s just because you aren’t used to Kate Morton’s writing”. Eh- that rationale doesn’t work for me. I’m not a genre/author specific reader. If my favorite author writes a blah book...I will begrudgingly admit it. A good book is a good book is a good book. For me, The Clockmaker’s Daughter was not. 

🕰 We follow a large cast of characters (narrators) over the course of many years (1800s-present) as they cross paths with Birchwood Manor. Birchwood Manor is more than just a home for these characters. It’s a place of refuge, a school for young women, the key to old mysteries, a beacon of inspiration. Within the house there is hope for a new future for each of them. There is a hinted at mystery involving an ominous death, however it was minor blip on the radar. The house and it’s history was the heart of the story. The book’s synopsis left me anticipating a multi-faceted murder mystery. I was expecting Clue! Alas, there was no Colonel Mustard with a lead pipe in the study. 

🕰 The 985 narrator’s lives were meant to intertwine in the most magical and mysterious of ways. Instead, they are all held together by a measly dental floss tether and their interwoven relationships are of minor or non-existent significance. Many of the narrators could have been ditched in their entirety and the story would remain unscathed. The intentional over-complication of the story for the mere purpose of trying to create a “surprise” ending was exhausting. At the start of each chapter I’d find myself thinking “who the hell is narrating this?” or rereading passages because I either lost interest or couldn’t keep track of the tangent-ridden storytelling. Additionally, the overly descriptive language was at times, just way too much. “...a coppice of birch trees”. A coppice?!?!? Get outta here with your coppice. No need to explain what a house and a river look like 437 times with each new narrator. I’ve been in contact with both houses and rivers before. What this story lacked was MAJOR editing. If this was pared down and not so over-worked, we could have had something decent.
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The following review appeared on my blog (www.blogginboutbooks.com) on 10.29.18:

"It occurs to me that this house is like that, too.  It remembers, just as I do.  It remembers everything."

When London archivist Elodie Winslow discovers an old leather satchel at work, she thinks little of it.  Until she finds two remarkable items within.  She's intrigued by the old photo of an arresting woman wearing Victorian-era clothes, but she's completely mesmerized by an artist's sketch of a riverside country manor that appears to be straight out of a storybook.  Although Elodie's never actually seen such a place, she's intimately familiar with the twin-gabled home nestled in a bend of the river.  Somehow, the artist has drawn the exact place where Elodie's mother set all the fanciful bedtime stories with which she enchanted her young daughter.   

As Elodie peers into the past in search of answers, she discovers that Birchwood Manor is, indeed, a real place.  Built in the 1500s, it's been an artists' retreat, a boarding school for girls, even a refuge for children fleeing London during World War II.  Its residents have experienced every emotion—grief, joy, fear, comfort, triumph, and tragedy.  The estate houses ghosts and the key to solving at least one mystery.  When Elodie learns of the mysterious events of 1862, when one woman was shot to death and another went missing from a summer artists' getaway, she knows she won't be able to rest until she finds out what really happened.  She hopes her search for the truth will reveal the answer to the most unsettling question of all—What does Elodie's mother have to do with the many sorrows of Birchwood Manor? 

It's no secret that I'm a raving Kate Morton fan.  I adore her eloquent, atmospheric dual-timeline novels featuring crumbling mansions, mysterious heirlooms, and juicy family secrets.  I've read—and loved—all of her books.  Since they only come out every 2-3 years, I wait with bated breath for new sagas from this talented Australian author.  So, to say I was excited for the emergence of The Clockmaker's Daughter would be a vast understatement.  Did Morton's newest live up to my (admittedly very high) expectations?  No, actually.  While I liked it overall, it's my least favorite of the author's books.  Why?  The story had a little different format from Morton's others, which left it feeling overly long, unfocused, and dull in places.  I loved learning about Birchwood Manor's long history, but with so many characters over so much time, I got a tad lost.  So, while I found the mystery at the novel's center compelling, the plot felt a bit loosey-goosey and a little confusing.  On the whole, I still enjoyed The Clockmaker's Daughter—just not nearly as much as I've loved all Morton's others.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine and other books by Kate Morton, including The Lake House; The House at Riverton; The Forgotten Garden; The Distant Hours; and The Secret Keeper)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Clockmaker's Daughter from the generous folks at Simon & Schuster via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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I definitely struggled to get into this book, and it took me until about halfway through to really be able to keep all of the characters and narrators straight. I honestly wish that I had started out by making a chart so I could keep track of how everyone was connected.

I did really enjoy the murder mystery plot line of the book- it was what kept me reading because it was clear there was more to the story than was initially given away. The multiple perspectives does add something to this story, but I think that the book would have been just as compelling with a few less narrators. I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really struggled with this one and it took me a long time to get into it. I kind of expect that with a Kate Morton book, her books are so long and kind of a slog to get through, but I can't think of anything that should be cut out because everything fits together *so* well, it seriously amazes me. This one was the same, but I do feel like it took me a bit longer than normal compared to her other books. She's an amazing writer though and this book delivered all the amazingness I am used to.
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While this book has little to do with clocks, it has a lot to do with time; generations of time, and characters coming and going as told through the perceptions of the main character—the clock-makers daughter. 

I had a little trouble keeping all the characters straight, but well-written, entertaining. Worth a read!
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I love Kate Morton, I have all of her books on my shelf and she is one of the first authors I recommend to friends and anyone else that asks. This novel had all the makings of her last ones: the beautiful, mysterious house, the tragic past and the modern heroine with vulnerabilities to make you love her. Yet, there was something that didn't work, too many characters to feel any connection to anyone and a storyline so complicated and ultimately small that I wasn't sure it was worth the bother.

Morton writes beautifully, her talent is there to enjoy with every syllable and lyrical description. I will not deny her that. The start was promising but Elodie wasn't the herione I was hoping for, the only spunky move she makes is 'borrowing' the archive pieces. I understand she is stuck in time due to her mothers death but her passivity is grating. Lilly from the past was a much better herione but it took a while to get to the story of her childhood which were the interesting parts.

I was just frustrated by this, I wanted more from the characters we started with and then we would veer off to new ones and I didn't have the patience to follow them so I would skip pages to get back to the people I felt invested in. I had an overwhelming sense of irritation over this, which is a completely personal response. I stuck it out, finished it and found the end a little 'blah'. I had already guessed at the twist of that night.

I admire Morton for taking a risk and pushing her writing boundaries. I hope her next novel takes onboard some of the reviews about complexity and confusion (I'm not the only one who feels this way). I will still be reading it!

I received an advanced copy via Netgalley for an honest review.
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Every Monday my alarm clock goes off at the unforgiving hour of 4 AM. I am slow to rise and usually hit the snooze button at least once, trying to enjoy just a few more minutes in my comfy bed snuggled under the covers. Then I am forced to tackle the morning routine of getting ready for work as the clock seems to tick a little faster before I find myself rushing out the door to get to work and begin hours of nonstop activity. 
 As my work day ends the rest of my day doesn’t as I come home to pick up the pace again with household chores, dinner and then a little downtime before bed. 
When I thought about Kate Morton’s newest novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, I couldn’t help but think that her book had that same ebb and flow of a day for me. It was a little slow to start as we are introduced to present day Elodie Winslow, a London archivist, who starts researching a photograph found inside an antique satchel. Thus begins the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
From there we are transported back in time to the 1800s to figure out who is the mysterious woman in the photograph.
Each page feels like the opening of Pandora’s box as we are now held captive until we find out her identity as well as her fate. It’s a love story, a murder mystery and a story full of so many secrets.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter delivers on all fronts. It’s one of the most accurate and richly detailed historical fictional novels. Morton’s book is one that is worth owning. Read it now and absorb as much as you can, then put it on your shelf and in a few years on a rainy Saturday afternoon, pick it up and get lost in it again in Morton’s beautiful tale.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #theclockmakersdaughter
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I loved every minute of this book. Morton expertly weaves together the lives of several people to create a rich tapestry of a story about an artist and his muse, his sister, a mother and her children, a philanthropist, and a young woman on the cusp of marriage, who uncovers a mystery. The artist was part of a group of artists that reminded me of the PreRaphaelites and that plus the slowly unfolding mystery reminded me somewhat of Possession by A.S. Byatt although not nearly as academic and erudite as her novel. Another winner by Kate Morton.
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The Clockmaker’s Daughter was an engaging and entertaining mystery that followed a huge cast of characters in different time period. The first half dragged a bit for me but then I flew through the second half. I think the slow beginning was partially because of all the different stories that Morton had to establish. The story in general could have been a bit shorter. I did love how everything ultimately connected together, some actions echoing throughout the ages. The mystery was so intriguing as well, I enjoyed coming up with guesses as to what happened that fateful night.

I had some trouble keeping the characters straight because there were just so many of them. Also, some viewpoints were introduced toward the end of the book, which always made me question if I’d missed them before or if they were somebody else. But, overall, I liked all of the characters. They so well developed and realistic. Plus Morton’s writing was beautiful.

If you’re a fan of Morton or love historical fiction, consider checking this one out!
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I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher and netgalley for my honest review. 

This novel is pretty epic! I love the way Kate Morton wove together so many stories from so many decades into one tale. Some chapters it took me half a minute to realize who and when I was reading about but in the end the overall story was wonderful.
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‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter’ by Kate Morton follows present-day archivist Elodie Winslow as she comes across a mysterious and very old leather satchel carrying a photograph of a striking Victorian woman, and a sketchbook with a drawing of a twin-gabled house Elodie swears she’s seen before. But how?


Over 150 years before Elodie comes across the satchel, in the summer of 1862, a group of artist friends coverage at Edward Radcliffe’s Birchwood Manor, ready to spend a month absorbed in the Upper Thames, their art, and each other. But, before the summer can come to a dreamy end as planned, one woman is dead, another is missing, a rare antique has been stolen, and life will never again be the same for this group of young artists - especially not for Edward Radcliffe.


What exactly happened behind the walls of Birchwood Manor in 1862, and why is a place haunted by such mystery and tragedy so vividly familiar to Elodie? And who is the mysterious woman in the photograph, who seems to be at the center of it all?


Told in multiple POV’s, across multiple time periods, ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter’ is a story of murder, forbidden love, theft, art, and the transformative, timeless effects of love and of grief, all converging around one place - Birchwood Manor.


This is the first Kate Morton book I’ve ever read, and I have to say I found 'The Clockmaker’s Daughter' to be lyrically written, atmospheric, and haunting. It’s a literary work of art, for sure.


'The Clockmaker’s Daughter' is a book that takes its time. It unfurls its mysteries like a foggy day reveals the surrounding world as it dreamily burns back up into the atmosphere. This is definitely a book with which you need to have patience while it simmers. Its style is very old-world - harking back to both the language and literary style that was popular during the 1800's. Very fitting for the setting.


While this book was beautiful and lush, and the story engaging enough that I read it cover-to-cover, I wasn’t immediately sucked in. It took me time to settle into the story, and once I was, a shift in time and character would come along and jolt me right out of my cozy rhythm. I liked reading about the different characters and their time periods, but there were so many POV’s - something I’m not typically fond of - that it made the book choppy and slightly hard to follow. This one took me a while to read because it had a hard time keeping my attention. And yet...I loved this. The charm of 'The Clockmaker's Daughter' was irresistible, and though it took me a while to finish, in that time the story smoothly and slickly spun itself around me and bundled me snugly up in its web. It will remain with me for some time.


'The Clockmaker’s Daughter’ is a beautifully written, old-world style mystery that you can take your time with, and savor. It’s not a quick read, and there’s a lot to take in, but as long as you know that going in, you’ll love it and be able to enjoy it. If you like unfrenzied, exquisite novels, 'The Clockmaker’s Daughter' is for you, and definitely recommended. I’m looking forward to discovering some of Morton’s other work!


I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley for my review copy of this book.  I love Kate Morton.  I read the Forgotten Garden and have been a huge fan ever since.  Her writing is poetic and beautiful.  This book started off slowly building the story and the characters.  While this is part of what I love about Kate Morton, I felt like this book took an especially long time to take shape. I felt like I was 20% into the book and I still was unsure about the characters and their motivations - especially Elodie Winslow. 

The story is told in two timelines.  Elodie, in the present, finds a photograph of a house that gives her a sense of deja vu.  The story moves between the present and 2017. The story has a mystery, love and intrigue; however, it was a very slow burn for me with a multitude of characters that left me wanting something that I cannot put my finger on.
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While I enjoyed The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, I've been disappointed in her last few books.  The coincidences felt contrived, the modern characters were weak, and some of the journeys into the past didn't old the same appeal as her previous books.

The Clockmaker's Daughter manages to escape some of the issues I had with Morton's last few books.  While Elodie is just as forgettable as some of the other modern characters in past books, she really isn't featured all that much.  I won't ruin the storytelling device, but it moves the action from the 1860's to current day, stopping in a few other time periods along the way.  There are strange coincidences, as in past books, but these are a little more believable. 

I was drawn to this book because of the fictional Pre-Raphaelite group depicted.  The real life members of the Pre-Raphaelites were fascinating, and had very complicated interpersonal issues.  I wish that this group was depicted in more detail.  Otherwise, I very much enjoyed this book.
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Almost finished - enjoy reading it and will recommend to customers who like multi layered story lines.
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I'm a big Kate Morton fan, and I enjoyed this novel, but it wasn't one of my favorites. I liked the character of the Clockmaker's Daughter, and the reveal of what happened to her was interesting, but it felt like there was a lot of extra information in between. Also, Kate Morton usually does such a great job of weaving the past and present together, but all of a sudden in the middle of the novel the present -day story disappears, and it barely gets resolved at the end. I'm probably being a bit overly critical just because of how much I usually love Kate Morton's books. I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to historical fiction fans!
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There is no denying that Kate Morton is an incredible and amazing author - she is one of my all-time favorites. Her attention to detail is unsurpassed. The way she pulls you in and brings everything to life with her descriptive and lyrical prose, is mesmerizing.

The star of this vast undertaking for me, was not The Clockmaker's Daughter, but Birchwood Manor, the old, mysterious, fascinating home that ties all the pieces together. This is a story that spans 150 years, so there are several pov's and time frames. Maybe that is why it sometimes got a little muddled for me. Ultimately, this is a story of relationships - great love, loss, regret and even guilt.

Although this is not my favorite Kate Morton book, it is still an amazing and beautiful story.

**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
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This was my first novel ever by Kate Morton and most definitely will not be my last.

The Clockmakers Daughter will transport its readers to the English countryside in the most spellbinding way. The story revolves around a house, that house being Birchwood Manor. Edward Radcliff, a renowned artist, purchased this Manor with the hope of summering there, but also because he has been attached to it since he was a child.

On holiday with an artistic brotherhood and their models, they set to spend the summer painting and seeking inspiration from the countryside for the latest installments. Everything turns after a storm, which leads to disappearances, a murder, and crime. Now the house is haunted by Birdie, a spirit, stuck in a purgatory state who gives her intel on every person that comes to her house and her life before death.

With a fantastic mixture of dialogue dating back from the 1800's to the present day, this bewitching novel had me hooked from the beginning. Although the story is slow paced and doesn't pick up until the middle of the book, the attention to detail in every paragraph/chapter makes it feel as though you were time traveling too and from, piecing together the truth, and intertwining the fate of all the characters and Birchwood Manor. 
As the reader, I was drawn to every single character and was fully invested in how their time at the Manor linked them all together. 

Thank you Atria Books for this ARC Netgalley and for the physical copy of the book! All opinions are my own.
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