The Clockmaker's Daughter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

Never, ever, ever did I think that I would ever 1 star one of Kate Morton's novels, nevermind DNF one. This took me aback, and I had put this book down, thinking that maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it and later picked it up again... but to no avail. It was torturous to continue for another 5% and felt like I was forcing myself to read even that much.
Glad that I am in the minority here, because I really enjoy Morton's novels so far, and maybe it was me and not her writing. In this case, I was equal parts bored and confused. I had no clue whose POV I was reading some of the time. And when I was reading Elodie's POV, the amount of detail over minute things would overshadow the mystery of the bag and sketch book that had her so enthralled.
I no longer push myself to be the kind of reader that forces herself to finish a book she is not enjoying, for a review or not. In every author that I have loved, there has always been the one book that leaves me dissatisfied and scratching my head, and I hope that this one is the only one of Kate Morton's that doesn't appeal to me. I hope the next one I read from her affirms why I love reading her novels so much.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent characters. Evocative settings and descriptions. Everything I've come to expect from Kate Morton.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this story. It was a bit slow to develop but once all the cogs started turning and the players came into their roles it was magical and addictive.

The author did a fabulous job weaving past and present and linking up all the characters so by the end you see how everything fits. I was a bit disappointed in how it ended and thought we needed a bit more with Elodie and the final discovery.

beautiful story and sad as well. I will definitely read more from this author
Was this review helpful?
Kate Morton is a wonderful storyteller. She can take two (or more) time periods and characters within them and weave an incredible story. The Clockmaker's Daughter showcased her talents once again. But...I didn't completely fall in love with it as I had hoped to. It's a great novel, don't get me wrong, but I think I expected more.

Here's the synopsis:
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 a 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.
I can't quite put my finger on what it was about this novel that prevented me from loving it. It might have been the number of points of view (there are so many that I honestly couldn't tell you all of them). Or it could have been that Part One only had two POVs and switching to others in the following parts made me miss Elodie. She played such a huge part in Part One and barely showed up in the whole rest of the book.

I also wasn't a huge fan of how the book ended. I was reading along and knew it would be done soon because I could tell things were being wrapped up and all the little clues and hints were coming together into an almost satisfying conclusion. Then I realized I only had about 35 pages left of the book. How could it all come together in a great ending in only 35 pages? Turns out it couldn't. Not totally. That being said, there is resolution. And we, as the reader, do know the full story (and I do kind of appreciate Morton assumes intelligence of the reader and allows us to make some final connections). I think I just wanted (needed) to see all the characters finally realizing the full story too. (Wow, it's hard to write about the final pages of a novel without giving anything away.)

Even if I wished the ending had played out a bit differently for the characters, I was reminded how great Morton is at bringing seemingly unconnected threads together to form a full picture. I never know exactly how things are going to be connected but I trust that Morton has a wonderful story in store for me. There's nothing better than exclaiming "Ohhhhh!" as you realize how something that seemed insignificant earlier on was actually the key all along.

The setting of this novel was absolutely magical. It's no wonder Elodie, as her mother before her, was entranced by the fairy story and the house in the country. I could easily picture the house and the landscape as I was reading - and definitely wanted to visit even if the house is likely haunted.

The art nerd in me loved the art history aspect of the story too. It was really neat to read as Morton imagined what it would have been like for artists at the time gallivanting off to make art and how they worried about making pieces to satisfy those wealthy folks who were paying them.

While The Clockmaker's Daughter wasn't as amazing as I wanted it to be, I was still hooked and completely invested in Kate Morton's newest novel. It's mysterious, historical and contemporary, and really well written. It's also a beast at 400+ pages so make sure you have the time to commit once you start because you likely won't want to stop.

*An eARC of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*
Was this review helpful?
A story of the past that most would call a "ghost' story by a capable writer who captivates you within the first chapter. I couldn't put this book down. A wonderful historical novel that has be researched with precision to build a strong and compelling read.
Was this review helpful?
.... I loved it and then it just ended, I felt as if the author got bored writing and said,”ok let’s wrap this up!”
Was this review helpful?
This book was not for me. I truly just found it boring, I liked the chapters in the past, and they were connected well, but I just couldn't make myself care. There were just too many people. Morton has both the future and the past and both timelines have so many characters. I think it would've been better if, because there are two separate timelines, she cut down on characters in each time period about half each. I also felt it was a little long for what it was doing, which made finishing it harder. It was written really nicely, I do enjoy Morton's writing style, but I found the pacing to be way too slow for me. I do love the cover though.
Was this review helpful?
Historical Mystery
Adult
Here’s another genre-blending blockbuster from Kate Morton, author of The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden, among others. It’s an historical mystery, a gothic ghost story, and a family saga. Best of all it features an archivist! Londoner Elodie Winslow is in her early 30s, engaged to be married though fed up with the wedding preparations and planning expected by her future mother-in-law. She seizes the opportunity for distraction when she discovers an uncatalogued box of items, including a sketch of a beautiful woman and another of riverside house that seems hauntingly familiar. It turns out to be Birchwood Manor, where a young group of Victorian-era artists spent a month in July 1862, a stay that ended with one woman dead and another missing, the theft of a priceless diamond, and a promising artist’s life is ruined.
Morton makes the house the main character in this novel, which shifts in time back and forth over more than a century and a half. So many characters people this novel – a Dickensian band of young pickpockets, an art historian, a private detective, a schoolmistress, a war widow – their paths crisscross through space and time as the house’s secrets are slowly revealed and uncovered. It’s also a story of loss, as hearts are broken and grieving children somehow find resilience and strength. Morton’s timeshifting approach requires the reader to keep track of various voices and who knows what when – but somehow she makes it all work, like a lush and tangled garden that yields beauty the closer you look. The characters are so well developed, and the plot threads slowly untangle to reveal the whole story; while avoiding a too-neat ending, by the last page all the big questions are answered. My thanks to Atria Books for the digital reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38530939
Was this review helpful?
A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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

Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel that contains a sepia photograph of a beautiful Victorian woman, and an artist's sketchbook with a drawing of a gabled house by the river. She is taken aback by the drawing because it is so familiar—it reminds her of the house from the stories her late mother used to tell her. But who is the beautiful woman in the picture? This sends Elodie on a journey to Birchwood Manor, an estate on the river Thames, in the hopes that she will uncover the identity of the girl that transcends the photo with her arresting gaze.

A century and a half earlier, Edward Radcliffe hosts a month-long retreat for group of artists at Birchwood. Their plan is to create art, but at the close of the month, Radcliffe's fiancée has been shot and killed, his muse and a family heirloom have vanished, and his life and reputation is in disrepair.

The Clockmaker's Daughter is a remarkable story that is told in multiple voices and spans many years.  Its themes are adversity, loss, love, and resilience and at the heart of it all is the ghost of Birdie Bell, the clockmaker's daughter.

Morton's writing is gorgeous, sweeping, and intricate. This hauntingly beautiful story is made up of vignettes—which are stories from the people that lived in the house—that thread the past and present storylines together. My only criticism is that there are too many of them and what happens is that they detract from the narrative. There are times where several chapters go by without any mention of the main characters and unfortunately, this is where some of Morton's audience will jump ship.

The finale is incredibly satisfying and I encourage the reader to slog through the vignettes because their patience will be rewarded. Morton makes it all worthwhile by harmonizing the stories and characters. She is a master and her writing is breathtaking.
Was this review helpful?
I have to say I love Kate Morton's books - this one did not disappoint.  I enjoyed the multiple time lines and the description of Birchwood Manor, a lovely house on the Thames.  The characters were well developed and the plot was quite intriguing.  Lets just say there's a twist at the end. A great holiday read
Thanks to Net Galley for letting me read the advance copy
Was this review helpful?
My first Kate Morton, and I really enjoyed it! I've been reading a lot of books lately that I felt like I needed to keep a reading journal with to make sense of all the characters, and this was one of those.

Very well written and intriguing. Great sense of atmosphere and characters, especially with jumping between perspectives, you still get individual personalities and quirks. Great fall time read!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Simon & Schuster, Atria Books and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an  honest review.

This for me was a little difficult to get into. There are a lot of characters and the timeline jumps around quite a bit. This also felt like a very long read. Now in saying all that, I truly enjoyed the book. This is a book that drags you into it's world and captivates you with the writing style, characters and history of the main location of Birchwood Manor.

It all begins with Elodie Winslow who is an archivist in London. Elodie receives two items in a leather satchel which immediately pique her curiosity. The first is a portrait of a beautiful young woman and the second is a sketch book. As she begins to investigate the identity of this woman she learns of a possible connection to Birchwood Manor. She discovers that there is a scandal associated with the young man that owned the Manor and the disappearance of a famous diamond,  the Radcliffe Blue. Her own family also has a connection to Birchwood Manor. From here, as Elodie uncovers more clues, we are taken on a trip through time concerning everyone who has tried to solve the mystery.

This is a beautifully written novel that flows seamlessly through time with smooth transitions between characters and timelines. You will easily lose yourself within the pages of the book and regret being dragged out upon reaching the final page.
Was this review helpful?
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?
2.5/5

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?