For my fellow Book of the Month subscribers, you’ll notice that Kate Morton’s latest, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, is one of October’s selections. A few months ago, I received an advance copy of the book after essentially begging the publisher to read it! I am a massive Kate Morton fan and I knew without a doubt that I’d gobble up her newest novel. After reading though, I wanted to do a full book review of The Clockmaker’s Daughter to explain my thoughts.
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The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Summary
The brief summary of The Clockmaker’s Daughter from Book Of The Month states “A satchel, a sketchbook, and a photograph connect the lives of a present-day archivist and a mysterious Victorian woman in this sweeping tale told across a century.”
In more detail, this novel begins with an introduction to a group of young men and women who arrive at Birchwood Manor in the summer of 1862. They have grand plans to spend the month there in a creative fog and return to their lives with new inspiration. However, at the end of the month one women is killed and another is missing.
In present day London, Elodie discovers an antique satchel with a mysterious photograph and a drawing of a beautiful country house. She searches for the connection between the items and ultimately discovers what really happened to the youthful gathering so many years ago.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review
Sadly, as these stories sometimes go, The Clockmaker’s Daughter didn’t even come close to my expectations. Morton is known for engaging writing, building suspense, and weaving intricate tales that connect generations. I’m often left breathless, moved, and absolutely blown away by her characters and the connections between them. I knew things weren’t going well when I kept putting down this book in favor of others. However, sometimes you’ll find a slow start as Morton builds the background story, so I kept going.
As character after character is introduced, it became harder and harder to keep track of everyone and understand how they fit into the narrative. Their stories, while intriguing, felt scattered and unrelated. Plus, the sheer number of time periods and individuals meant each one only gets snippets of attention. Jumping back and forth across history is usually an aspect I love most about Morton’s work, but in this instance it was too much. I was left wanting more from each story, which is ironic considering it felt like it took AGES to read this one.
The book focuses on Birchwood Manor, a country house that seems to be a magical place of safety and security. However, after a young woman is murdered and a family jewel is lost, we spend the entire book waiting for the big reveal about what actually happened that day. Unfortunately, the reveal is rather unimpressive and the circumstances surrounding the murder of the girl and death of another character don’t quite add up. After an enormous buildup, there are still a few important points left unexplained.
Do yourself a favor and go read literally any of Morton’s other novels because they’re all wonderful. The Clockmaker’s Daughter just doesn’t quite meet her usual standards.
What did you think of The Clockmaker’s Daughter?