The Clockmaker's Daughter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

I have read many books in my days but by far this was the most confusing. There were so many twists and turns and characters to keep tabs on that I really would have needed a CSI board on the wall. Characters photos with names and strings linking them to parts of the plot and to other characters. If you are looking for a book that will keep you on your toes and like to read about period times and modern times this is the book for you.
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It's been years since I last read a book authored by Kate Morton. Having been thoroughly engrossed by The Clockmaker's Daughter, I'm not sure why it's been so long? The multi-generational storytelling is first rate, as ever, and the characters will both intrigue and touch the hearts of the reader.

This is the point where I might sum up the premise. Given the interwoven nature of this yarn I will leave it for you to read the back of the book. It's best if I don't spoil the enjoyment that lies ahead by revealing more than intended. There's quite a lot of time jumping and keeping some brief notes may help to keep it all straight. I thought I had a firm grasp on who was when and how they might link together but lost my way. It matters not a jot as things are laid out in pretty good order at the end. 

This is a story full of rich detail, magic and mystery with much of it viewed through the eyes of children, in all their innocence. I felt invested in characters from each time period and really worried where the story may take them. Having just finished, I feel cut adrift from the stunning world Ms. Morton has created and am missing it already. I quite enjoyed my time with Elodie and all her predecessors. I hope you do too.
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Set in several different time frames, this book lives up to the standard set by Kate Morton's earlier books.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.
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Quite a long read
 
Wow, that was a long read, but a very interesting one.
At first I thought it confusing, but as I read on, it all fell into place.
From century to century and back again, it told everyone's story, that had a connection with 'Birchwood Manor'!!
Fascinating read!!
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A wonderful engrossing book from an assured novelist..The story moves backwards and forwards in time but while always retaining a mysterious element the time shifts do not confuse. This is a ghost story with a differnce and thoroughly recommended.
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Having read a few other Kate Morton books, this one was a bit formulaic.  Kate definitely has a flair for embellishing different story threads, across time, and bringing them all together for a dramatic revel and resolution of the story's mystery.  It is a double edged sword for an author with a  fan base - while you might regale them with a wonderful new story, if there are too many similarities with the formula, it isn't engaging and feels like a re-read.  When an author continues to follow a 'winning formula' in their writing, the story loses some of its magic.

This time around, the story was ok: I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. It is pure escapism for historical fiction fans, but was a tad wordy, rambling, and with the side stories meandering.  Some of the ties for these side stories back to the main plot were tenuous at best. Quite a few of them could probably have been left out, making a more concise and intriguing mystery.

Recommended for: holiday reading.  It is big enough that you only need to take the one book, and interesting enough to keep you engaged without having to devour the whole story in one sitting.
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I feel a bit mean giving this a 3 star rating because there were parts of this that I really really enjoyed, but that is exactly my problem - it was only parts! 

The story centers on a mystery surrounding the events that occured at a certain property in the 1800's and how these events have impacted on people down the years. We hear about the events very slowly as different characters stories are told. We hear from Birdie who witnessed the events, Lucy - also a witness, Leonard who writes about the events, Elodie who has heard about the events as a child through a story told to her by her mother and we hear others viewpoints too. 

The tension very very slowly builds throughout the story as we approach the end and it is not until the end that all is revealed - though by this point you will probably have guessed what occurred. My problem was that each of these people's stories would have been amazing had they been the only story told in the book, instead it is the constant flicking back and forward in time from person to person that irritated me because I kept being pulled out of what I was absorbed in and plunged instead into someone else's story. 

It is a shame because each character does have a fascinating tale to tell, it was just not done in a way that was to my taste. Some people will love this book and some won't. For me, it just didn't hit the spot.
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What a great disappointment!
I was really struggling to follow the story in the beginning as it was jumping through time and space and people. Later it started to come together, however I really didn't like the fact that this story involves a ghost, also Radcliffe Blue just made me think of Titanic (especially considering Lily was a redhead) and I couldn't help it.
Ada was left in England by her parents to study and I feel that there should've been more to the story and explanation as of why they did it to her. 
Lost diamond was in the pocket of Lucy's dress that whole time, but considering someone undressed her and police was searching the house it's a bit unbelievable it was there. How did they find her in the priest hole? Why did she not tell Edward about Lily even though she thought of it? I have way too many questions.

End of the story is really muffled. Felt like it was just time to wrap up and ending was written in a real rush.
Also kindle edition I've received was very poorly edited and it added extra annoyance to whole process.

I've received my copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
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An enjoyable book by Kate Morton, as ever. I found that it took me a while to get into, as there are a lot of characters and time periods to keep track of.
I read the book on holiday and I think that it requires perseverance and good chunks of time to get into the reading of it, but once this is achieved it is, as always with Morton's books, a great read. Reading a few pages each night does not suffice, it is a book that you need to put some effort and time into.
The house (Birchwood Manor) that is described in the book is very reminiscent of Kelmscott Manor to me, the residence of the artist William Morris, which I have visited, so I loved the descriptions of the house and surrounding area.
I really enjoyed the idea that all of the characters in the book were connected to the house and had something in common to focus on.
A very long book to read, but well worth it and it stands up just as well as Kate Morton's other works. Looking forward to the next book already!
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I’m a big Kate Morton fan and was delighted to be allowed to have an ecopy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter in return for an honest review.

Why not 5 stars? Normally Kate Morton books are a no-brainer 5 star for me but this book had one too many threads for me.  It spanned such a huge timescale and had so many characters that I found at times, especially in the first half of the novel, that by the time we got back to a thread I’d forgotten the characters existed! Maybe I just wasn’t as absorbed in it as usual. 
The central story of Edward Radcliffe, his sister Lucy and the Radcliffe blue was brilliant. The narration from ‘Lily’ was my favourite - exquisite storytelling. By the end of the book I was loving the way it was unraveling so if you’re finding it slow it’s definitely worth preserving! 
I’ll definitely look forward to Kate Morton’s next book.
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A clever premise,lots of intrigue,murder and a real mystery.There is something compelling about the story and the idea of the house binding people together over generations is an interesting concept.'If walls could talk' seems an apt phrase.Overall, I did enjoy the book but at times it did feel like a drudge:wading through unnecessary details;stories from characters who added nothing to the narrative [some of whom completely disappeared] and over-long descriptions which completely detracted from the crux of the book.These are problems as they weigh the story down,doing nothing to push it forward [and I'll admit,I was prone to skimming a few paragraphs once I recognised the pattern].This causes the timeline to jump and the numerous characters & tales bleeding together can be extremely confusing to follow.You'll often find that you've read several paragraphs ,wondered where you are & why you're there,before you realise that there has been another time or perspective shift..It's a bit of a shame because elsewhere,the writing is both beautiful & evocative and I really did want to know the real story of the clockmaker's daughter-that's why I stuck with it.Overall,its not a bad book-it could actually be a wonderful book-if it had had a decent edit.
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Partly gothic and time travelling this book has great characters, plenty of twists and different stories woven together.  Really enjoyable and will appeal to people who enjoy both contemporary and historical fiction.
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Sadly, this book just didn't connect with me at all. It has a very confusing beginning with several characters introduced together across various time frames. I struggled to keep up with it and eventually gave up. I will revisit this book as it is obviously much loved by other readers, perhaps on a long journey when I have more time to devote to it.
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When I started to read this book I wasn’t sure that it was for me. But as I read on all the stories started to weave together and I got drawn in. I rather liked that the stories were told but that there were loose ends that were left and it was up to reader to imagine exactly what happened. It was a facinating read covering generations that in the end captures your imagination
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I was sent a copy of The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton to read and review by NetGalley.
This novel started with great promise in true Kate Morton style.  Unfortunately, the further into the book I got the more confusing it became.  There were far too many characters, some of whom I felt were unnecessary, there were passages that seemed to go on and on like a lecture or an essay, and the amount of repetition throughout the book, I’m afraid, just got on my nerves.  This novel is oh so long and I found myself struggling to read it right to the end - I did manage it however, not that I really felt that I needed to when I got there.
Don’t get me wrong, there are sections of the story that are engaging and lyrical and the premise of the story is a good one, I just found it far too long and somewhat tedious to warrant the 4 stars that I would otherwise have given it.  A bit of a disappointment after being so keen to read it, but I’m sure there will be many other readers who disagree with me completely!
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A fairy tale told to a child of a beautiful house turns out to be real. The house has many stories to tell of those that have lived there and the one who forever resides in the house. Love, loss, murder and secrets abound across the generations. 

I'm a big fan of Kate Morton and had high hopes for this, luckily I was not disappointed. The story is amazing and very well written. It does jump around a lot in various times and by different people which took a little getting used to but actually works really well. I loved all the different stories and the ways they entwined together. The ending was good too and tied everything up. 

There are many characters in this each with their own qualities though my favourite was probably Leonard, he only had a small role but he tied much of the story together.
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Yes it kept me intrigued in spite of the way it is written which is rather complicated across different time frames. Not easy to pick up and put down because of this.....I had to keep reminding myself which era I was in and which story line. One reviewer suggested it read like several short stories about 1 house....I agree.
Nevertheless I was intrigued enough to stick with it and enjoyed the final chapters when all themes came together.
Thank you
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Whilst I enjoyed reading this book,  at first it seemed more like a selection of short stories based on residents of a particular house. The section on Leonard was so long that I had completely forgotten about Elodie, who was the least interesting of the characters. but whose research was important.

Every part in itself was gripping, but the structure didn't seem to hang together for me.
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Kate Morton is really the best author for epic books that span several generations.  The Clockmakers Daughter pulls you in like the best mystery so you need to know Birdies story.  From Eloise to young Tip you invest in them and really need them to do the right thing.  A fantastic book Kate Morton is exceptionally clever
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If you enjoy doing jigsaws, you'll know that the conventional way is to finish the corners and the edges, then look for distinctive blocks of colour with the help of the picture on the box.   But what if there's no picture, no box, and precious few edge pieces ?  If you're the type to rise to that sort of challenge, you'll be hooked by this complicated story.

If there were a picture – if the plot were presented logically – it would be a simple one: a house party of Victorian artists ends abruptly when the host's fiancée is shot and a valuable jewel goes missing, along with the host's mysterious muse and model.   The house, appropriately, is the hero of the tale; “Place is a doorway through which one steps across time” and over the century that follows the fatal party, the house changes roles, as a school, a museum, a refuge for evacuees, while the people who know it, work in it, live in it, or simply love it as the heart of a half-remembered childhood story gradually - jigsaw piece by piece – reveal the secrets of that Victorian weekend.   Starting today in an archivist's office, the story moves to the slums of early Victorian London, the heady bubble of the pre-Raphaelites and the pioneers of photography, the home front in two world wars and a very contemporary research project.

This is familiar ground for Kate Morton; multiple voices and multiple time-frames, but her skill is that each voice, each moment in time is quite distinctive, and the connections that are made as the picture is slowly revealed fall quite unexpectedly into place, just as a jigsaw piece unexpectedly only makes sense when you find where it's meant to go in the picture.  Thus, a man who is just a name in the early pages turns out to be closely linked to a central character much later on, but it's even later still before his critical role in the story becomes dramatically clear.   In the same way, the unusual name of an elderly relative in the present day crops up in the person of a wartime child and whole new web of relationships opens up to throw a fresh dimension into the story.

Paradoxically, the rather abrupt ending of the book is a mark of how well the story is told – part of the reader's disappointment comes from wishing that the characters could carry on telling the story of their lives in the light of all that they have discovered.   But that might be much too simple a read, after the fragmentary mosaic of the chapters bringing the story to the present day.

										Nigel Melville
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