The Clockmaker's Daughter

A Novel

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Pub Date Oct 09 2018 | Archive Date Oct 12 2018

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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.

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 the 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.
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...

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ISBN 9781982110529
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Average rating from 119 members

Featured Reviews

Everything is centred around Birchwood Manor - a beautiful old house set on the Thames. But it is so much more. It’s a love story, a ghost story and a murder mystery. It covers the period from the 1860’s to today. And Kate Morton is a master at weaving such a marvellous tale. Her descriptive writing is just incredible. There are a lot of characters to get your head around but all are neatly tied in. I just loved this book.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Morton returns with her new novel, “The Clockmaker’s Daughter”. Of course, being Kate Morton, she delights a reader with powerful, descriptive imagery and settings, a creative plot and beautiful language, as she spins a delightful historical tale.
In 1862, a group of young people take up residence in “Birchwood Manor”, in hopes of spending the summer creating art and enjoying the beautiful grounds. When a woman is shot, the groups’ dreams are quickly destroyed, and the owner of the house, Edward Radcliffe, flees the country a broken man. Years later, archivist Elodie Winslow comes across a leather satchel containing two very different items- a sepia photograph of a beautiful woman, and a sketchbook. Both the picture and sketchbook seem to have different owners (and be from different time periods in history), yet they also have eerie similarities. Soon, Elodie is traveling to Birchwood Manor to investigate, where she too, is soon taken under the spell of the beautiful and mysterious house.
This novel, as with all of Kate Morton’s novels, was a beautiful read. Long as it is, it was not difficult to read and I breezed through it, fully captivated as always by Morton’s breathtaking settings.
“The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is not a fitting title, though. Although indeed, the Clockmaker’s Daughter is one of the characters in this novel, it seems to be more a tale about the house itself than an individual person. Told from many time periods, from many different characters, in reverse order, it was a bit confusing in places. Although each chapter was labeled with a date to identify time periods, there was multiple characters that each had diverse and entertaining storylines tied to Birchwood Manor itself.
As mentioned, the character list in this novel is multitudinous, but each character brings their own set of charm to the table. The plot, too, has everything one could want- history, romance (many times over), a murder mystery, and even a treasure hunt. “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” had so many plots, it could have been many stories instead of just one, however this also made the novel easy to read.
Fans of Morton will enjoy “The Clockmaker’s Daughter”, for its traditional Morton style and beauty. The ending is extremely satisfying, if not predictable, and brings the tale to a delightful end. A thoroughly engaging read, to be sure.

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This is an absorbing and complex family saga, with a touch of the supernatural for good measure. Although I might have preferred one or two fewer viewpoint characters to keep track of, the main arc of the mystery (what happened? Where is the fabulous blue diamond?) is still compelling. I wanted to read more about Elodie, the 21st century archivist whose story we begin with, but I enjoyed following all the twists and turns. Maybe just a touch too complex for its own good, but a thoroughly good read overall.

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I have just finished reading this book. It has not been one of those that you cannot put down - it is one that I felt I had to put down, every so often, to decide what was happening and why. It is indeed spell binding since it deals with the sort of things that get dismissed summarily. But it is great story telling and the first thing that requires, if it is to be successful, is the suspension of disbelief. A bit like the unspoken pact you make when you take your seat in the theatre, and the show begins, and you allow yourself to wrapped up in the presentation, and disregard the obvious fakery in the props and scenery. Just like going to the magic show: you know that it is an illusion, but you want it to be a good one. We delight in being taken in - even when we also know that if the secrets were revealed we would feel immensely let down. We want to believe.

This book has quite an accurate description in its blurb so I am going to cut and paste that to the end of this review. That way I do not have to worry about inadvertently providing spoilers. But I will say up front that I enjoyed every moment of reading it, and I feel I know about the times and places it describes. It actually covers quite an historic sweep but I have visited some of the places, and know a bit about some of the items discussed. Many I wanted to immediately go look up, just to make sure I was right. For others I was simply content to say to myself "it's a story. It doesn't matter." Well one thing I did look up, because I was certain it didn't exist but - at least according to wikipedia - it did. But is actually very rare, which is why I had never heard of a tuppenny coin. But that is real, and now I think I may go look up some of the other things that made me wonder. Yes, priest holes are a thing, I know that. And the Thames does have locks and weirs on its upper reaches, so it is very much a tamed stream that flows down to the sea.

There's a bit of history, there's quite a bit about art - painting and photography - as well as about story telling and sleight of hand. It is very satisfying. It is easy to recommend but if I tell you anything more I risk giving something more away and I don't want to spoil it. So trust me on this one. Read it and don't do too much jumping to conclusions in the first few chapters. And be aware that the voice of the story teller shifts around between characters as does the time. The dates are made clear on the chapter headings and will help you to keep you bearings, and you do need to keep names in your head.

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I really enjoyed this book. Ms Morton skillfully interweaves the past and present to create a poignant story of love and family. There are many little surprises throughout the book, as various events are explained. Well worth reading.

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The Clockmaker's Daughter is a book full of such achingly beautiful descriptions of settings and characters, while the story itself reaches out to the reader, grabbing them and dragging them into the pages.with it.
The story spans over 150 years and spins back and forth from the 1860's, the 1920's, the 1940's, the 1960's, and finally, present day, in a way only Kate Morton can do without confusing us, and with clever tricks like the roman numerals on a clock marking the twelve parts narrated by Birdie, the clockmaker's daughter herself, with her vivid life filled with tragedy, love, loss, joy, and her own mysterious ending that nobody seems to have knowledge of.
The setting has colour palettes ranging from the greys of Victorian London, the lovely pastoral colours of the English countryside, in both the past and present, and even the brilliant hues of nineteenth century Inda in part.
The characters are so alive: mousy Elodie, vibrant Birdie, heartsick Edward, homesick Ada and timid little many stories and lives, separate, and yet creating a mosaic of sorts, culminating at the climax to finally answer the question of what happened to the clockmaker's daughter.
Is the denouement somewhat hasty, as it rushes to tie up all the loose threads? Perhaps, but even that is forgiven as the reader is anxious to know the answers to those elusive questions !

I rarely finish a book and find myself reading it again immediately afterwards. This book is one of those rarities.. It is definitely my favourite of Kate Morton's offerings to date, and I have enjoyed them all. I highly recommend it!

***Thank you to Netgalley and to Simon and Schuster Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I chose to read this book on my own and all opinions expressed in this review are solely my own. ***

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Kate Morton is one of my favourite authors and her latest, The Clockmaker's Daughter, doesn't disappoint. Morton always weaves a good tale that, although fictional, is believable. In this novel she strays from her tried and true formula by introducing an element of the supernatural. ( A word to the wise: check your dictionary for the definition of “eldritch” prior to curling up with this book.)
This is not a novel to read a couple of pages per sitting because there is just too much going on. Morton has interwoven so many interconnected stories and jumped around in the telling of them so much that I had to make a timeline for myself upon finishing this novel and then reread it, in order to make sure that I managed to squeeze every morsel of her story telling goodness out of the experience.
Kate Morton never disappoints and has hit it out of the park in The Clockmaker's Daughter.

I received a free copy of this ebook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Photographer Sarah Bain and her friends Lord Hugh Staunton, a disgraced member of the upper class, and sometime street urchin Mick O'Reilly are private detectives with a new gig - photographing crime scenes for London's Daily World newspaper.

A pub owner named Harry Warbrick has been found hanged and decapitated amid evidence of foul play. His murder becomes a sensation because he was England's top hangman and he's met the same fate that he inflicted on hundreds of criminals.

Sir Gerald Mariner, a fabulously wealthy and powerful banker and owner of the Daily World decides to turn the discovery of the murderer into a contest between the Metropolitan Police and the intrepid members of the newspaper team.

Rowland’s The Hangman’s Secret is a face paced Victorian murder mystery that kept me entertained and on the edge of my seat from the beginning. I couldn’t put this unpredictable novel down until the murderer was found.

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Thank you, NetGalley and Atria for the advanced copy of The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton. I felt so fortunate to have had my "wish granted" and receive a copy of this eGalley, as Kate Morton is one of my all-time favourite authors and I have been waiting (not very) patiently for her next novel.

All of the elements I adore about Kate Morton novels were present and accounted for in The Clockmaker's Daughter. Multiple narrative timelines and perspectives, atmospheric settings - I was totally transported into the world of Birchwood Manor and the lives of the people connected to the estate. The way in which the narratives finally tied together - the twist, the missing puzzle piece that I feel is iconic of Kate Morton novels - did not blow me away in the same way that The Secret Keeper or The House at Riverton did. The Clockmaker's Daughter was, nonetheless, a wonderfully entertaining way to spend a summer day. I really enjoyed it.

However - one struggle I had was the similarity in character names. Specifically - Lily Millington and Lucy Radcliffe were often referred to by their first name only (understandable), but it the chapters were Lily and Lucy were both involved, I found the two similar names confusing. If it were all the same to Kate Morton (who, presumably, chooses the names for her characters), I would have preferred two names that were more easily distinguishable.

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