The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review

The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review & Book Summary

For my fellow Book of the Month subscribers, you’re well aware that this subscription service picks the newest and most notable books. Back in October 2018, Kate Morton‘s latest, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, was chosen as a selection.

I was lucky enough to receive 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 dedicate an entire post to The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review. I had too many thoughts to do justice in a mini review!

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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. I even included The Secret Keeper on my list of the Best World War 2 books!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter just doesn’t quite meet her usual standards. I hope this book review of the Clockmaker’s Daughter was helpful!


Do you plan to read this book? If you already have, what did you think of The Clockmaker’s Daughter? 


  1. Lovely review. I actually put this down thinking I’d never read another Kate Morton again (this was my first) – it was fine but not as spectacular as I expected. Do you have any suggestions if I wanted to give her another try? Any favorites?

    1. Oh you must give her another try!! The House at Riverton and the Secret Keeper are my two favorites of hers. I’m just pretending this new one doesn’t exist since the rest of her collection is fantastic.

  2. Oh, this is so disappointing to hear! I LOVE Kate Morton, but this is now the second poor review I’ve read for The Clockmaker’s Daughter from a trusted reviewer. I’ll get my copy next week, but now I don’t know if I’m as excited for it.

  3. This makes me so sad. I’m still going to give it a whirl (since I’ve already pre-ordered it!), but your review isn’t the first unfavorable one I’ve read. I, too, love her other books, and I feel like you always know what to expect when you pick up a story of hers.

    I’m a huge Susanna Kearsley fan, but her latest left me unimpressed as well. I didn’t finish it, so I’ll certainly try again, but I just wasn’t immediately pulled in like I usually am.

  4. Oh that’s disappointing! I’m willing to try any of her books because she’s good at what she does, but I’ll move this to the back of my list for now.

  5. I was disappointed too. I switched to audio about 2\3 thru and enjoyed it a lot more. The narrator is excellent.

    1. That’s an interesting point – I never thought to try it on audio. Amazing how some books come across completely different that way.

  6. Read 2 other books and found this one so trying, keeping track of
    characters. I’m half way through and done! So frustrating.

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