Cover Image: The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter

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Member Reviews

I have read many Kate Morton books and this one is missing the magic for me. I feel like the pieces all should be there but I lacked the connection of all the different parties through time. 

The prose is beautiful as always and I genuinely want to go visit England after reading of the beauty. I was invested in the mystery and wanted more from the still living characters. 

I will likely continue to read Kate Morton and will continue to recommend her books.
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This is my first Kate Morton novel and it will definitely not be my last!  This is was a great historical fiction with some mystery thrown in it. Even though there are lots of characters to keep up in the beginning, the second half of the novel was easier to follow and the multi-layered plot came together.  If you love a story interwoven between many decades of generations and beautiful English countryside scenery as a setting, then this is your kind of story!  I loved the story of a ghost being a main protagonist as well, watching everyone that ventures through Birchwood Manor upon the Thames River.  Kate Morton really knows how to tell a well thought out cast of characters within a long woven timeline.  Thank you to NetGalley for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton is so well-written.  Morton really develops the characters in such a way that the reader feels as though she's known them her whole life.  This book follows a group of young artists as they plan to spend the summer at a rustic retreat to work on their art.  Then a murder happens, people disappear, and a ghost might start to make an appearance.  Lots to keep your interest in this plot.  Read and enjoy!
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The Clockmaker's Daughter was a DNF for me - my first official DNF since joining bookstagram. And the ironic part of that is Kate Morton is an author I have read and thoroughly enjoyed previously. 

Here are my thoughts: I'm a character-driven reader first and foremost. If the plot becomes the focus and the characters are only used to further along the plot - that's where books lose me. Sometimes a plot-focused novel CAN develop their characters and create characters that the readers are invested in, this is no such novel. I made it a little past halfway and had yet to care, be intrigued by, or eager to learn more about any of the M.A.N.Y different characters. In addition to this problem was there were just too many plot lines. I get it, I've enjoyed this formula before by her and others but there were just too many. And to reiterate, I am all for a complicated or intricate plot (I'm all for the "work") IF the characters are interesting or intriguing. 

I can't give Kate Morton a bad rating because her writing is beautiful but this book was just not her best in my opinion. I can't even imagine what her writing room looked like to keep all the plot lines and characters straight - authors are amazing.
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The Clockmaker’s Daughter is not a groundbreaking novel, but it is a good one. It features many of the elements that I’ve come to expect and enjoy in a Kate Morton novels – multiple timelines, intricate mysteries, and an evocative location.

The summer of 1862 is a pivotal year in the life of Birchwood Manor. A group of artists plan to use the house to explore their creativity and find inspiration, but by the end of the summer, a woman is dead, another is missing, and a priceless heirloom has been stolen. These events reverberate across time, influencing the new residents of the house in unexpected ways.

Although the novel perhaps had one time period too many, Morton did an excellent job of wrapping things up. Like all of her novels, it was an immersive, satisfying reading experience. You can’t go wrong when a novel has a ghost, an archivist, and a beautiful house on the Thames.
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Three stars: A book that moves forward and backward in time. Interesting ghost mystery, but too many storylines and points of view. 

Birchwood Manor is a quiet place, visited mostly by tourists wanting to know more about the elusive artist Edward Radcliffe. Not many know that the house also harbors a ghost. A ghost that has haunted the house since the summer of 1862. This ghost, over the years, has seen many changes and lots of people come and go, some she has grown fond of and shared her secrets with, while others she was glad to see leave. Why, though, does this ghost still stay, is it because of unfinished business, or a wrongful accusation? 

What I Liked:
*I have long wanted to read a novel by Ms. Morton. Her writing and storytelling is indeed captivating at times in this book, and there were portions of the story that completely enthralled me. I enjoyed her rich descriptions and her characters. 
*This book has a rather large cast of characters. It moves forward and backwards in time from 1862 up to the present day with stops in between. There were several characters that I found captivating from Birdie to Juliet and Tip, Elodie and even Lucy. I wish that more time was spent with certain characters as I found them charming. 
*There are several mysteries in this book. The main mystery is what happened in the summer of 1862 when a woman was murdered and another disappeared with a diamond that cost millions. Who was to blame? I was intrigued by the murder mystery, but I also was charmed by some of the other smaller mysteries, like the situation with Elodie’s mother, the story of Tip and Ada and finally how the murder really happened. Lots of intrigue. 
*This book doesn’t present a sweeping or thrilling romance. In fact, there isn’t much romance. However, there are some sweet relationships that develop and blossom. I thought the hints of romance were just lovely. 
*I enjoyed the setting. The majority of the story takes place in the country side at the Birchwood Manor. This charming, bucolic setting was lovely. I especially appreciated being able to experience it in different time periods from the mid 1800s up to the present. My favorite time period was during WWII.
*There is a lot to keep track of in this book as it moves around in time and there are many characters with different storylines. Thankfully at the end, there are big revelations and everything starts to snap into place. Most of the questions are answered, and I was pleased, for the most part, with the finale. No cliffhangers or big unanswered questions. 
And The Not So Much:
*My biggest complaint with this one was there was just too much. There are too many characters, too many time periods and too many storylines. I found myself completely invested in certain storylines, while others seemed out of place. The view points of Edward and Jack were particularly perplexing as they didn’t capture my attention and I found them boring.
*I did not like the way Juliet’s portion of the story ended. I wanted to see her meet her pen pal. She was one of my favorite characters and I wish that far more time was spent on her. I also wanted more from Tip and Ada. 
*I wasn’t completely satisfied with Birdie’s portion of the story either. I wish that there was a better resolution for her. I wanted her to move on and find peace. 
*With all the changes in view point the story really drags in some portions. I found myself struggling to wade through some chapters. This was a book that was hot and cold for me. 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter was a book I wanted to dive in and fall in love with. Sadly, this one was an on again off again read. I was invested in certain characters and storylines, while others completely bored me. In the end, this one suffered because it had too many view points, too many storylines and it was too long. Perhaps if you are a fan of this author you will enjoy it more than I did. I liked it, but it didn’t amaze me. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review. 
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.
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Told in dual storylines with lush, vivid detail and tons of heart, THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Kate Morton is a breathtaking tale of art, mystery and betrayal that will keep readers on their toes.

The novel kicks off with the discovery of a forgotten satchel by archivist Elodie Winslow. In cataloging its items, she discovers a sketchbook that once belonged to artist Edward Radcliffe, as well as a photograph of a stunning woman seemingly out of step with her own time period. Normally a rule follower, Elodie is shocked by her own actions when she takes the satchel home with her in hopes of learning more about its mysterious contents. The daughter of a famous cellist who died tragically when she was only a child, Elodie feels a strange connection to Radcliffe’s sketchbook, particularly a drawing of a house that reminds her of a story her mother used to tell her when she was young. What ties these storylines together is soon revealed to be Birchwood Manor, the historic home of Radcliffe --- and the scene of a tragedy that led to his ultimate downfall.

The true mystery at the heart of THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER begins with this tragedy. In the 1860s, Radcliffe was staying at Birchwood Manor with his beloved fiancé when a botched robbery left his betrothed dead and resulted in the loss of an invaluable family heirloom, the Radcliffe Blue. At the time, Radcliffe was rumored to be working on his masterpiece, and in Elodie’s contemporary world, the rumors surrounding his final piece remain popular among art students, including Elodie’s best friend. It was said that Radcliffe was so devastated by the loss of his fiancé that he never worked again. But another theory posits that he was truly bereft by the loss of his muse, another woman entirely who may have taken off with the heirloom. So what is the truth, where is the Radcliffe Blue now, and why does Elodie feel such a strong connection to Birchwood?

As Elodie begins a quiet investigation into Radcliffe and her own mother’s story, we alternate points of view between a ghost who is tied to Birchwood Manor and a young girl who once lived there when it served as a girls’ school. Although it is not always easy to determine who is driving the car, Morton’s deft, lyrical mastery of words will have you absorbed regardless of the era or point of view. It feels clichéd to say that this book reads like the gears of a clock, and yet that is exactly what I pictured as each individual storyline began to converge with another. Because the story takes place over the span of about 150 years, there is a lot to take in, but Morton is adept at inserting period details in ways that do not seem overbearing or forced. Until you have become acquainted with the voices of the characters, it is these details that allow you to anchor yourself in each storyline.

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER is not a book you can settle into easily, and I will be the first to admit that Morton makes her readers work for answers, but I can assure you that the satisfaction of tying up all the loose ends is worth every ounce of confusion. If you are initially turned off by the sudden switches in voice, stay strong until about the 30% mark. This is when the plotlines begin to converge, and Morton’s talent for weaving storylines, viewpoints and hidden clues truly shines.

Because the book weaves together several points of view and a number of mysteries, it is more than a little difficult to accurately review, but what I can say is that each of Morton’s characters tugged at my heartstrings and made the story unputdownable. Even her supporting and minor characters felt intensely personal, and it is not difficult to find a reason to connect with each and every one of them. While Elodie is probably the character with whom most bookish types will identify, I was captivated by the characters of Lily Millington and young Ada. The resounding theme that ties each character together --- beyond the mystery --- is abandonment, and Morton writes of their pain with such heart and such grief that they practically leap off the page.

For those looking for a leisurely and thoughtful read full of lush settings and vivid characters, THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER is the perfect blend of mystery, nostalgia and love. Morton’s passion for intertwining plotlines is at its height here, and longtime fans will appreciate the lengths to which she has pushed herself, though newcomers might be better off starting with an earlier, shorter title from this gem of an author.
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Masterfully crafted, as always. The storytelling is rich, the story even richer! I love a good saga story with mystery.
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The premise of this book captivated me and I genuinely enjoy books told from different period perspectives. Unfortunately, I did not finish this book. I had a terribly difficult time getting into a reading groove. Just because it was not for me does not mean it is not for you!
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I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Kate Morton Fan.  The Secret Keeper makes my top ten with Forgotten Garden not far behind.  As a fan, I knew I would read this book, I just didn’t know when.  At almost 500 pages I knew I was going to need a kick in the butt to read this, even if I do love Morton.  I had previously started this book not once but twice.  Mind you I only read 30 or so pages but I kept putting it down.  Well third time was a charm.  Not only did I pick it up and kept going but I had a hard time putting it down.

Now here is my disclaimer....you need a solid couple of quiet hours to become invested in this story.  I’d say by the end of part 1 I was in 💯.  Mind you that’s 150 pages.  Some might not make it that far before giving up and that’s fair. I did take notes and I think that helped me keep track of all the characters.  Yes there are a ton of characters but as the story progresses it becomes easier to see how the pieces fit together.

This is an intricate story and spans more than a hundred years.  Even after finishing it I’m not sure I can remember exactly who everyone is and if everything is explained.  I’m grateful to have a group to chat with and tie up some of the loose ends.  Nonetheless,  Morton is a master of storytelling.  I’m going to put this up there with my favorites.  I found this quite different than her other books but the quality of writing is stellar per usual.
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Oh my gosh.  This pains me.  It physically pains me to say this.  I am putting this title down.
To be clear.  I LOVE Kate Morton.  I have loved her for a very long time.  I do not want to rate this book with a star rating as I did not finish it and do not feel like it is fair to bash it.  I do know that that NetGalley requires me to do so.  Please ignore the rating.  It was forced ;-)  
The writing is classic Kate.  I am not interested in the character at all.  I am sure it is bound to be a fascinating story...and there is a good chance I will revisit the story.  But it is not what I need right now.  Kate is an auto buy author for me and I will continue to buy her titles when she releases new ones.  In the meantime...this one was not for me.
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The multiple points of view from many timelines got confusing easily and it was hard to keep track who said what and when it happened. There were a lot of characters to keep track and I wish there were either less characters or a more concrete way to organize all the characters.
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I have had the best luck with books this year. The Clockmaker’s Daughter turned out to be so, so good. I’m going to keep this review short and sweet so I don’t give anything away. Here’s how it starts:

"We came to Birchwood Manor because Edward said that it was haunted. It wasn’t, not then, but it’s a dull man who lets truth stand in the way of a good story, and Edward was never that."

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one. There are so many different elements that pull together to make The Clockmaker’s Daughter a fantastic read.

   - Different points of view from different times.
   - A ghost story.
   - A long-forgotten mystery.

Ms. Morton helps us travel back and forth through time, and each character we meet has their own story to tell. While independent on the surface, they all intertwine together. The house becomes their common bond.

I liked the ending – as a reader, everything came together and was resolved in the end. But for the characters we were following…none of them had the complete story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. The writing is beautiful, and the characters and mystery are intriguing. One of my favorite 2018 reads.
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This, like all of Kate Morton's books, was well researched, gripping, and full of heart and interest. I was hooked from the very beginning and wanted the story to keep going. The twists kept me intrigued and the turns kept me from putting the book down.
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Dual storylines take you on a wonderful journey through time with Birchwood Manor at the center. Artist Edward Radcliffe, and his group of artist friends plan to relax and create the summer away at picturesque Birchwood Manor. Their summer is then cut short because of a mysterious murder and disappearance of a priceless heirloom. Meanwhile, in modern day London, Wlodie Winslow finds an old leather satchel and starts down the path of discovering its history. 

While the first half of the book was a little slow for me, I love the author’s use of multiple storylines and perspectives and the wonderful period detail. The mystery and characters unfold at a lisurely place, but once the pieces fell into place, I couldn’t wait to see how everything fit together.

For fans of both historical fiction and a good “who done it” this book was a home run for me.
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This was my first book by Kate Morton and definitely not my last. I really enjoyed this story. The opening hooked me right away. Who doesn't love a ghost story told over multiple decades/timelines? 
It was a delicious gothic ghost story with a side of romance. I loved every minute!
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Kate Morton has written a beautiful historical novel, with great character development, I wasn't keen on the switching of time periods. All in all a good read.
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'Clockmaker's Daughter' takes readers on superb journey
By Sandy Mahaffey for The Free Lance-Star
Kate Morton takes her readers on magnificent journeys, and “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is no exception. Each of her books has been beautifully written. She masterfully juxtaposes characters from different eras in a common place.

This time, the place is an old British home, “Birchwood Manor,” located near the Thames in rural Oxfordshire. Her characters span more than 100 years—from the 1800s, through World War I and II and ending in 2017. They are all connected to the manor by skillfully woven, tangled tales.

There are myriad characters, all beautifully developed, many of whom take turns with the narration. The one who finally ties it all together for the reader is “The Clockmaker’s Daughter,” the ghost who has occupied the home for more than a century and observed it all.
Morton’s attention to detail in her descriptive imagery and character development truly made me feel as if I were standing right next to her, seeing everything first-hand. I have bookmarks all through the pages marking all the lyrical passages I didn’t want to forget. It is a long book, nearly 500 pages, but her pacing is perfect, always keeping me interested, and making it increasingly difficult to put down.

During his childhood, Edward Radcliffe is the first to encounter Birchwood Manor and experiences something that ties him to it for the rest of his life. He eventually purchases it as a young man and takes a group of fellow artists to spend the summer there. During their stay, one woman is murdered, another disappears and a jewel is stolen.

In 2017, archivist Elodie Winslow discovers a satchel containing two items while inventorying an estate. In it are a sepia photograph of a beautiful woman and an artist’s sketchbook, which do not appear to be from the same time frame nor to belong to the same person. A sketch in the book reminds her of a story that had been passed down in her family. A story she always thought was a fantasy. She sets of to find out about the satchel’s owner and if the house really exists.

All the characters seem to find Birchwood Manor a sanctuary, whether they are escaping the horrors of war, a difficult childhood or any other unhappiness. Their stories are intricate, skillfully told and totally captivating. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Kate Morton—it’s part fantasy, part historical novel, part love story, and completely superb.

The words of the ghost speak beautifully at the end:

“I am this house…

…I am the air within each room.

I am the hands of the clock and the space in between.

I am the noise you hear when you think you’re hearing nothing.

I am the light in the window that you know cannot be there.

I am the stars in the dark when you think yourself alone.”

Yes, she is the heart of the house.

Sandy Mahaffey is former Books editor for The Free Lance–Star.
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A saga of substance and secrets in which a ghost plays a central role. I reviewed it for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
https://tinyurl.com/ybapm9gu
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This was a fantastic work of historical fiction, about an archivist, a ghost, love of people and of place, artists, and women with strength of survival, intelligence, and passion. As an archivist myself, I was drawn to Elodie's story, first. But as an archivist of artist papers, gallery records, and arts organizations, the tale of the artist and this quest for the truth of the history also resonated. The weaving was masterful with so many timelines and family lineages, and it's a story I felt comfort in taking my time with. That being said, it is long, but well worth it, in my opinion. The house-as-character is something I love in fiction, and this book was no exception. I will keep an eye out for more works by Kate Morton, now that I know what I've been missing.
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