The Clockmaker's Daughter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I’m not sure what to think of this book.  I think it was too wrapped in a bow for my liking.  The characters kept me engaged and the story was very unique.   Several women at our book club have recommended this as their 2018 must read!
Was this review helpful?
This is one of those books that is hard to review.  It's so layered with love, and suspense, and intrigue, that I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe how I felt reading it.  You often hear about the perfect beach read--well, this book is the perfect fireside read!  So, grab a warm beverage and hunker down.

Kate Morton's books are always engaging and she is excellent at multi-period storytelling. I will admit to being confused often while reading this book, and I had to pay close attention at all times.  This is not a quick, easy read.  It is meant to be savoured and enjoyed.  

The story is excellent and very complex.  The layers may leave you feeling confused as it did with me, and it does start out slow, but when it takes off, it really takes off!  And, it all comes together so beautifully at the end, that I forgot all about the misgivings I had at the beginning of the book.  There is a reason why her name is larger than the title on the cover.  She knows how to write a mysterious story with well rounded characters in different time periods and keep readers engaged and wanting more.  I am already salivating thinking of her next book.  

*Thanks to NetGalley and Pan McMillan for an  e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an e-copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter for review. All opinions are my own.

I read The Clockmaker’s Daughter as a group buddy read and loved the discussion this novel inspired. Lots of questions, speculation as to who is connected and why and how. Perfect novel for a book club for this reason.
However, I did not end up enjoying reading it myself. This was my first by Kate Morton and I wonder if her books just are not for me. I really wanted to love it but it was too aimless for me. As a fan of plot driven, faster paced novels, the diversion into random sections of history and previous occupants of the house seemed unnecessary. Especially considering that in my opinion, the book just seemed to end.

I do think this book was incredibly intricate and the writing was amazingly well done. Sections of history weaved together to reveal more and more of the main mystery as time went on. The changing of time periods was done in a way that worked and allowed the reader to make connections and make guesses and learn more.
Well done novel that just was not my particular taste.
Was this review helpful?

This is the first Kate Morton book I’ve read, and I have to say that I’m not very impressed. Some parts of it were beautifully written, but I found the storyline difficult to follow at times as there were many characters and the timeline jumped around frequently. It’s a bad sign when you think a book is about 550+ pages long and you’re relieved when you flip to the end to see its only about 480 pages!
Was this review helpful?
This book took me some time to get into but I’m so glad I read to the end. Kate Morton is a master at weaving a story with intertwing details and then tucking all the ends in to finish. I enjoyed that this book left so much to the imagination at the end but answered all the pivotal questions for the reader. The characters were lovely, well most of them, and the story was paced well & didn’t race. My favourite part of a Kate Morton novel is always when the mystery begins to be revealed and this book did not disappoint on this facet. Another fantastic book to add to the Kate Morton Collection.
Was this review helpful?
A tremendous thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC.  

“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 1860s until the present day.” 

Oh, that it was.  

I am not sure I can actually put words together that will do justice to Kate Morton and the spell she has woven in The Clockmaker’s Daughter.   For woven a spellbinding novel she has done, so masterly so, marking time and the lives of those at Birchwood Manor just as would a clock.  

Morton races across generations, at once knitting together and unraveling the lives of those who came to Birchwood Manor.  Lily’s life, the constant throughout, reaches a crescendo that is visceral.  Magnificently written- the imagery is alive.  

This novel was very much like the Thames, woven throughout and “… for all its sunlit transparency, there were certain spots in which it was suddenly unfathomable.”  And very much like the river, which carries its secrets away, this story will carry you, and stay with you.
Was this review helpful?
I've read a number of Kate Morton's books and I've enjoyed them. However, I've never really understood why she has such a large following. With this book, though, she has made me a convert!

We begin with the story of Elodie Winslow, who is a young archivist who finds a satchel containing an artist's notebook and a portrait of a young woman. She is drawn to the portrait and so the larger story begins.... The Clockmaker's Daughter is a relatively complex story that weaves different time periods and characters (including a ghost!) together. All of the time periods are linked in some way to the much loved Birchwood manor, which was once the site of an artists' getaway that ended in a murder and lost love.

I didn't know too much about the story when I started reading and I think that that was for the best. It's a lovely book that requires a bit of patience to keep track of the different eras and stories, but it is worth the time. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher, Atria Books, for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
An intricate book that takes you places, it's like a Russian nesting doll of timelines. I knew where it was headed but the descriptions and journey made it worthwhile!
Was this review helpful?
“They all have a story, the ones to whom I am drawn…”

In 1862, Edward Radcliffe, a gifted young artist, invites a group of friends to spend the summer at Birchwood Manor, his secluded home by the Thames. They plan to pass the long days immersed in creative pursuits, but before the month is gone, tragic events come to them all - murder, a disappearance, the theft of a priceless gem. For those who remain, their lives are changed forever.

In present day London, archivist Elodie Winslow discovers several mysterious artifacts. One is an old photograph of a striking woman. In the same leather satchel, she finds a sketchbook with a drawing of a house on a bend of a river. There is something familiar about the house, and Elodie is drawn to uncover its story and the history of the enigmatic woman in the picture. These are just two of the narrative threads that Morton carries through her novel. Each story is told from a different point of view but one voice returns throughout. It belongs to a mysterious woman who knows all the secrets of Birchwood Manor and the people who have been beguiled by its beauty.

Morton fans will find much to delight in this new book. We’ve got a house that’s so well-imagined it’s a character. There is a wonderful ghostly atmosphere, right from the start, and a sense of foreboding that just keeps building. It drew me in and I love the rich language and especially her description of place. I didn’t find that Morton handled the multiple narratives quite as deftly as she’s done in other books. For instance, Elodie was front and centre at the start and then vanishes for a large section midway. I practically forgot about her and so became less invested in her story over time. Morton has many balls in the air here and there were moments when it didn’t feel as effortless as in some of her past novels. 

Still, I loved it. If by magic there was a new Kate Morton book out tomorrow, I’d be first in line. Secrets, memories, lost things, lost stories, lost love… I am here for all of it, always will be.
Was this review helpful?
This book had a really, really interesting concept, and an intriguing cast of characters. The writing was atmospheric, and most of the time quite beautiful. I really wanted to love it, just as I have loved each of Morton's past titles. However, The Clockmaker's Daughter just didn't hang together for me. I felt it was too long, and there was not enough continuity between the multiple perspectives-- at time the narrative felt crowded. There was nothing particularly wrong with this title-- it was fine-- it just didn't live up to my expectations.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher but was slow in getting through this book not because it was not interesting but because personal life events got in the way. Anyways, once I buckled down to resume reading, I found this book to be enjoyable in a slow persevering way.

The plot is gripping – a love story, an alleged theft, a famous cellist, a ghost, a murder, a house of pickpockets and fraudsters, and another beautiful mysterious manor house with a legend and a key to all the elements in the book. It is a satisfying read but one needs to stay focused as there are multiple characters and parallel narratives happening. 

At the start, the reader is introduced to Elodie, a motherless young lady on the cusp of marriage to an M&A corporate kind of guy with a very controlling mother. Elodie is an archivist who became fascinated with an old satchel belonging to Edward Radcliffe, a Victorian painter. She found an old sketch of a beautiful lady and a house which all ooze mystery. Elodie is drawn to unearth the story linked to the satchel, the mysterious lady, and the house which reminds her of a childhood tale she heard. 

Kate Morton is a master story teller and her writings are rich creating vivid imagery and suspense. My favourite character is Birdie, a young woman abandoned by her father and sent to live in a house run by a greedy woman intent of marshalling the children under care to a life of thievery. Birdie became the ghost in the story. 

Birchwood Manor, located near the Thames is at the heart of this story and the reader is carried along as the truth about what happened one summer in 1862 unravels. The ending is very satisfying; all loose ends connected and wrapped up nicely. Be patient as new characters are introduced and Elodie disappears from the narrative only to emerge at the end to a wonderful conclusion. This is a 3.5 stars book rounded up to 4.
Was this review helpful?
The story of the Clockmaker’s Daughter is told by many different characters throughout the book. It goes back in time to 1862 when a group of artists visit a place called Birchwood Manor. The story then skips to present day and we meet Elodie who is an archivist in London who finds a photograph of a woman and an artist’s sketchbook. Elodie can’t help feeling she is familiar with the woman in the photograph and starts uncovering the story from long ago. 
I honestly found the book quite complex and too detailed at times.  I enjoyed that story as it went from past to present day, but I would have liked to read more about Elodie and her adventures. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book to review.
Was this review helpful?
Well I am disappointed.  I was hoping on loving this book but it just didn't grab me. What doesn't help was I found there are way too many characters in this story for my taste.

This book just wasn't for me but I know some people would like this one.
Was this review helpful?
I solidly enjoyed this read. It was quite long but I don't feel that any parts were unnecessary. There were so many different storylines that were intricately woven together and while I loved them all, sometimes it was a bit hard to keep track of everything, especially if I put the book down for a while.
Was this review helpful?
Kate Morton is one of my favourite writers. Every time I finish one of her books, I'm sure it's the best one yet. And it is, until the next one comes along. The Clockmaker's Daughter is her latest - and yes, it's the best one yet!

Morton again employs all the elements that are hallmarks of her work. Past and present narratives, houses, their history, love lost, love found, an element of other otherworldliness this time and so much more.

"My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows."

Summer 1862. A group of artists and friends plan to spend a month at Edward Radcliffe's new home, Birchwood Manor. But before the month is out, one of them will be dead, a priceless heirloom is missing and Edward's life will never the same. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie, a young archivist, uncovers photographs that seem somehow familiar to her....

"The woman in the white gloves unlatched the dull silver buckle and the satchel held its breath. Open me, open me, open me....She pushed back its leather strap and for the first time in over a century light swept into the satchel's dark corners."

The past has always fascinated me, bits of history and lore woven into family stories. Pictures of those now gone, houses now emptied. What is their story? I was immediately drawn to Elodie and couldn't wait to discover and uncover what happened in the past at Birchwood and why she seems to know the house. But it's not only Elodie we hear from. The past is unfolded from many different, yet intertwined viewpoints and time frames. Each and every one of those characters are so very well drawn. All of them have a connection to Birchwood Manor and feel inexplicably drawn to the house.

"Edward used to say that the river possessed a primeval memory of everything that had ever happened. It occurs to me that this house is like that, too. It remembers, just as I do. It remembers everything." It is this voice that I found the most poignant - the voice in the house. (No spoilers, so not saying another word about this.)

Kate Morton's descriptions are so wonderful. The house sprang alive for me - I could feel the warm spot on the turn of the stairs, smell the flowers in the garden, envision myself under a shady tree listening to the sound of the river going by.

I started reading slower as I realized I was reaching the end. I knew what was coming and I just didn't want to face it. But I wanted to see how all of those threads and lives would weave together.

My review doesn't do this book justice. But suffice it to say that I loved it. Absolutely, positively recommended. Pick up a copy for snowy nights reading. Read an excerpt of The Clockmaker's Daughter.

"Each clock is unique, he used to tell me. And just like a person, its face, whether plain or pretty, is but a mask for the intricate mechanism it concealed."
Was this review helpful?
In the year 1862, a group of artists gather at Birchwood Manor at the request of Edward Radcliffe one summer to create beautiful works of art without the prying eyes of London. By the end of the summer, there’s a murder, missing artwork, theft and a disappearance.


Archivist Elodie discovers historical artefacts in modern London. The more she stares at the aged photograph, the curiouser she becomes. Who is this woman and why does she feel such a connection to Birchwood Manor? She’s determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, even if it means uncovering hidden secrets within her own family.


The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical mystery teeming with captivating characters, intricate twists and turns not to mention a group of artists escaping to an oasis in the country. While I enjoyed the multiple POVs, I found the transitions too quick and choppy. The mystery, however, kept me invested until the very end.


If you’re a fan of Kate Morton and/or historical mystery, you’ve got to read this book!


Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada/Atria Books via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.


Favorite Character/Quote: This was the proposal that he made: an entire summer month of paint and poetry and picnics, of stories and science and invention. Of light, heaven-sent. Away from London, away from prying eyes. Little wonder that the others accepted with alacrity. Edward could make the very devil pray, if such were his desire.
Was this review helpful?
This was a lovely, immersive read. Morton pulls together a contemporary tale of a young archivist and bride to be stumbling on a piece of historical significance and blends it with a rich gothic tale of forbidden love, missing gems and murder in the nineteenth century. 

This is a book to savour, a novel filled with rich details and settings easily visualized. The pace is slow but with so much for the reader to ponder, including the life of the nameless narrator, the story never drags. Brilliant storytelling. Morton at her best. 

ARC received with thanks from publisher via NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Kate Morton is one of my go-to Historical Fiction authors. When you pick up one of her books, you know you're going to get a well-written story with accurate historical details that pull you into the plot and lives of the characters. After hearing her speak a couple of years ago on her The Lake House tour about how she comes up with her book plots and characters ideas, I became an even bigger fan.

In The Clockmaker's Daughter, Morton once again has beautiful, descriptive prose and you can tell she's done her research on the era. But, unfortunately, this wasn't my favourite Kate Morton book. 

I enjoy books that have two different time frames but in this book, there is an overabundance of jumping back and forth (WWI, WWII, 1850-1860's) making the book feel disjointed. There are also several subplots, different narrators and loads of characters - some of whom don't play a big role but their addition muddles things up when you're trying to keep track of who is who and which time frame you're dealing with.

I loved the premise and the mystery involved but, in the end, it was just an okay read for me. It pains me to give an average rating for this book, but I will always highly recommend Kate Morton for anyone who adores Historical Fiction with wonderfully evocative writing. If you're new to this author, try starting with a few of my favourites: The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper or The Lake House. I eagerly look forward to her next book.
Was this review helpful?
I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter A Novel by Kate Morton from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… intricately woven into an absorbing, entertaining and hauntingly beautiful novel…

Kate Morton skillfully creates an epic gothic tale, intricately woven into an absorbing, entertaining and hauntingly beautiful novel that in my opinion is perhaps one of her best. The Clockmaker’s Daughter is so complex it’s difficult to summarize, there are layers upon layers of historical detail, mystery, love and loss with a touch of paranormal. 

The story follows multiple characters, shifting through different periods of time spanning from the 1860’s to the present day, all intertwined and connected to Birchwood Manor by the Thames.  One thing I love about Kate Morton’s work is she creates such fascinating and multifaceted characters with atmospheric settings that draw you into the story from the beginning. Each character is unique, the female characters strong and intelligent. In The Clockmaker’s Daughter, all of the characters are brilliant but one voice stands out for me, Birdie. We learn first-hand about her traumatic life, tragic death and her thoughts and feelings on both.

The story opens with London archivist Elodie Winslow, cataloguing the archives of James Stratton when she happens across a mysterious leather satchel containing a photograph of a stunning Victorian woman and a sketch of a mysterious house by the river. Elodie instantly feels connected to the items and is compelled to discover the origins of the house which is eerily similar to a house in a bedtime story her mother used to tell her before she died. Despite being in the middle of planning a wedding Elodie is determined to see whether it is, in fact, the house contained in the stories from her childhood. During her investigation, she discovers the satchel belongs to the artist, Edward Radcliffe and the photo is of his muse and secret love Lily and Elodie becomes obsessed with uncovering their story and is driven to visit Birchwood Manor.   The Manor’s incarnations include Edward Radcliffe’s artist’s retreat, a school for young ladies, home to a widow with three young children, the inspiration for a student’s thesis and lastly a museum dedicated to the artist Edward Radcliffe. Birchwood Manor, in some ways, seems to become a character in itself, the house seems to have a distinct personality. In each of its incarnations, the house holds a special space in each of the occupants’ hearts as well as concealing secrets in its walls about tragic events that occurred during the summer of 1862 which include murder, betrayal and loss.

I absolutely loved this book, it is not for those who are looking for a fast-paced page-turner, it definitely requires patience but it is a slow but satisfying read that is worth it and one I would highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
Going into a Kate Morton novel I always know what to expect. There will be strong women, both in the past and in the present. A woman in the present will be researching and trying to solve a mystery which occurred in the past. Chapters will move between the two time periods and finally the mystery will be revealed near the end. Having a formula isn’t a bad thing and it obviously works for Morton. I am one of her many fans who eagerly awaits each new release with grabby hands. I was expecting beautiful writing, historical detail and a compelling mystery and that is exactly what I received.

This book was a bit different as it seemed to feature more characters than usual, several different time periods and multiple story-lines. This became very complex and a bit difficult to keep track of everything. There are several points of view and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when one of the chapters was narrated by an inanimate object. Only my trust in Kate Morton let me get past that and keep going. Everything and everyone is connected to the house, Birchwood Manor, but many of the connections that tie all the narratives together weren’t clear until much later so I really had to work to remember everything that happened and all the characters involved. It was still enjoyable but it definitely was not a mindless read. Not that I was expecting mindless but this was more intense work than I was expecting.

I didn’t connect to Elodie and the modern story-line as much as I was hoping. It seemed to pale a bit in comparison to the artists and Birdie in the past story-line. It’s a bit of a mystery to me because Elodie is a character I can very much relate to with her very particular habits and her meticulousness in general. I just didn’t find her sections very interesting. Luckily Birdie more than made up for that with her heartbreaking story. I was rooting for her so hard even though it’s very clear from the start that she is the ghost in the manor. Tragedy was obviously in the cards but I couldn’t help hoping that somehow she would find some happiness.

I’ve read a few of Kate Morton’s books and while they are often a bit melancholy this is by far the saddest. It is heart-rending and haunting in every way. The reveal of what had happened to our narrator ghost was an absolute shocker. I thought that I had it figured out but I never would have guessed what actually occurred. I may have teared up just a little because it really was such a horrific end for such a tough and vibrant character.

This isn’t the strongest Kate Morton book I’ve read but I did really like it. I think making it a bit shorter by removing some of the long and mostly unnecessary side-stories would have made this book more enjoyable but in the end it is Kate Morton and I love her.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
Was this review helpful?