The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter


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 talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor. Their plan is to spend the month working on their creativity. But by the end of the summer 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 a sepia photograph , and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house.

Why does the Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Our Review

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton has become my new favourite book of the year. I was offered this book for early review, but a teething baby meant I have only just managed to read it and write my review, but it was worth the wait.

I didn’t want this book to end because it was wonderful, but it had one of the best final paragraphs I have read for a long time.

I chose to read this book because I have read and enjoyed all her other books and The Forgotten Garden is among my favourite books but this one may surpass even that one.

She is known as Lily Millington. Nobody knows or remembers her real name anymore as it was such a long time ago, but she remembers the start of the start of the summer like it was yesterday. By the end of summer one young woman had been shot dead, a priceless diamond had been stolen and the owner of the house Edward Radcliffe faced a life left in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later archivist Elodie Winslow discovers two seemingly unrelated objects in a satchel: a sketch of a house and a photograph of a beautiful Victorian woman.

Who is the woman and what is her story? The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a well-written tale of art, love and loss.

“We came to Birchwood Manor because Edward said it was haunted. It wasn’t, not then.” So, the unknown narrator begins.

One of the things I enjoyed most about The Clockmaker’s Daughter was the style in which the chapters from Lily’s point of view were written. For example:

“All was light, but it did not last for long.

You knew that already, though, for there would be no story to tell if the warmth had not lasted. No one is interested in quiet, happy summers that end as they began. “

During one of the first scenes including Elodie she is working in the archive when she stumbles across a satchel she hasn’t seen before with some initials on she doesn’t recognise. In it is a picture of a Victorian woman inside a document holder belonging to a man named James Stratton and a sketchbook of a house that seems oddly familiar to her.

“She knew this place. The memory was as strong as if she’d been there, and yet somehow Elodie knew that it was a location she’d visited only in her mind.

The words came to her then as clear as birdsong at dawn: Down the winding lane and across the meadow broad, to the river they went with their secrets and their sword.

And she remembered it was a story that her mother used to tell her. A child’s bedtime story.”

Without really knowing why she is doing it she takes the sketchbook with her when she leaves the building and she heads for her father’s house to ask him what he remembers about the origins of the story.

Her mother, a famous musician, is long dead so she cannot find out from her and her father is unable to help her, so she decides to look for answers elsewhere.

The Clockmakers Daughter contains some of the best writing I have read about the interaction between a ghost and the people living in the house she inhabits. She calls those people ‘visitors.’

“There are some to whom I have warmed. The Special Ones. The poor, sad soldier shouting in the night. The widow whose angry weeping fell between the floorboards. And, of course the children – the lonely schoolgirl who wanted to go home, the solemn little lad who sought to mend his mother’s heart.”

It was interesting to hear more about her life and what led her to be trapped in the house and to learn her perspective on the events leading to her death. Also, to learn what she knows about what others think about her.

“I am remembered as a thief. An imposter. A girl who rose above her station, who was not chaste.”

A lot happens in The Clockmaker’s Daughter, but each character and event belong and slots in perfectly. Not one word is wasted.

This was a fabulous book full of so many intriguing characters I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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