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Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter

Title: The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Author: Kate Morton
Genre: Fiction
Page Count: 496
Published by: Washington Square Press
Date Published: October 9, 2018
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Birchwood Manor, the stately English country mansion nestled along the Upper Thames, takes central stage in this piece of historical fiction. Following along over 150 years of its history and its occupants stories, starting with, and ever connecting to, Edward Radcliffe. The “first” owner of Birchwood.

The summer he and his artist friends stayed at the manor, and the resulting tragedy and theft, alter the course of many lives connected to Birchwood. Including an all girls school run by Edward’s younger sister, a WWI soldier recovering from post traumatic stress, a young family escaping the Blitz during WWII, and most recently a man searching for a valuable lost item.

Elodie Winslow is an archivist in London and is about to be married. She comes across an old satchel, a photograph, and a sketchbook of the late Edward Radcliffe. As she begins her research into these seemingly unrelated items she is thrust into the history, tragedy, and her own connection to Birchwood. With the help of Jack, the current occupant, they unravel secrets long buried within this grande manor.

Woven throughout is the eerie and mysterious voice of the clockmaker’s daughter, who has seen it all unfold.


That was definitely one of the more challenging synopsis I’ve ever written and it is very indicative of just how much is going on in this historical fiction.

Numerous storylines, a plethora of characters, and continual jumping back and forth in time, combined with Kate Morton’s famous attention to detail … can be a tad much.

It is definitely …. crowded. I believe it is this reason there are so many polarizing opinions regarding this book. You have to like historical fiction. You have to like detail. You have to enjoy time hopping and even enjoy keeping a list of characters and a timeline beside you. You have to enjoy a book that takes its time and likes to meander in thought, to contemplate the scent of breezes, the details of flowers, the sound of the Thames …

I actually enjoyed this. I really like Kate Morton’s style of writing, her descriptions and strong knowledge of early 20th century England. I share her fascination of grande, stately old homes … does she get a tad carried away here? Maybe. But if you’re looking for a novel to just spend some time with, ingesting it slowly, and appreciate Kate Morton’s signature style combination of eerie nostalgia for bygone times, then you will enjoy this. I was frustrated that after spending 450+ pages of incredibly detailed storytelling and intricately plotted reveals, the novel just abruptly wraps up and ends. It would have been nice to have a more solid, satisfying ending after such a densely written story. Maybe not my favourite by Kate Morton, but still a master of this genre.

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