The Clockmaker’s Daughter

Step through time to solve a mystery of the ages

Release Date
August 5, 2019
Author
Kate Morton
Page Count
632
Goodreads rating
3.73
Genre
Historical Fiction, Mystery
What to expect
Art history meets mystery; a symphony of characters
Who's it for?
Lovers of art and history

 

 

Cover

Gorgeously illustrated cover with a cheery colour palette. A collection of symbolic gestures pertaining to the plot grace the cover; with the use of the clock device carrying more than one meaning. Yes, it echoes the title of the book, yet in a larger sense, it speaks to the passage of time central to the plot’s arc.

 

Prose

Elegant, mesmerising, visceral. Morton manages to conjure up vivid visuals so deliciously, that it’s a treat to read.

 

Performance

Joanna Froggatt of Downton Abbey fame narrated the version I listened to via Audible. She is a talent to behold, who adds depth and warmth to the tale, not to mention carrying the enormous task of capturing a myriad of voices, accents and personalities. She does it with aplomb. I highly recommend listening to this version.

 

Plot

The Magenta Brotherhood is a band of rapscallion young artists obsessed with pre-Raphaelite notions. One summer, in the 1860s, they congress at Birchwood Manor, where mayhem and murder play out.

Years later — over a century and a half to be more precise — an artist’s sketchbook and captivating photograph from that fateful time appear in a young archivist’s hands. And she’s hooked. Without understanding why she’s so drawn to the items and the story they belong to, Elodie embarks on a mission to uncover secrets with which she feels inexplicably connected.

 

Ending

Largely satisfactory.

 

Review

This is the kind of book I melt into. A perfect companion for a time in our lives full of uncertainty and anxiety. I was whisked away to England and coaxed into an intoxicating mystery that centres around art — always a favourite theme of mine.

Morton weaves so many characters into this book, creating a ghostly, mysterious and colourful tapestry of detail. My one complaint, although small, is that a beautiful tapestry usually hides its tangled workings of thread at the back away from the eyes of its beholder — however, at times this one seems to have made both sides visible. A tad messy at times.

Unless you’re equipped with the ability to mentally recall each character and their life’s journey, you may struggle to keep up with piecing together all the threads that dart in and out of the canvas.

This can feel at times tedious to grapple with, yet it’s not a major sore point. I’m left feeling the story becomes that much richer and more imaginative for it.

The writing is exquisite — utterly charming and worthy of memorising and quoting. Morton has an ability to pen thoughts and feelings into works of art that rival any entrancing painting.

There are Gothic themes, romance, a reverence for art, along with a mysterious manor as one of the book’s central characters. It is indeed an otherworldly tale that will make you feel worlds away from your current life.

 

…life’s only nod to fairness was the blindness with which it dealt unfair blows.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Cover
Premise
Prose
Performance
Characters
Ending
Atmospheric
Fascinating
Mysterious
Long
Many characters to keep up with
3.8
  1. Ooh! I didn’t like this one! I wrote a blog about it in which I said that she writes beautiful prose, very well researched but this time around there were just too many superfluous characters for me- especially Leonard Gilbert. I almost abandoned the book during his chapters.

    I’m reading A Gentleman in Moscow now!!

    Loving your blog. Love everything you do.

    1. You know, Yvette — I tend to agree! I initially gave it three stars, due to the wayward story and large cast of characters (I agree, Leonard probably wasn’t necessary!). There were times where I found the intricacy too tedious. I still quite enjoyed the story in whole, though. This is my first Kate Morton read, so I’m curious to see if there’s better ones out there.

      As an audiobook, I had to round it up to four stars, because the performance was just delightful. Joanna Froggatt has become a new favourite narrator of mine.

      Thanks so much for visiting and your kind words! Xx

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the strays by emily bitto — book review
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The Strays
A colourful, curated blend of books, wine and creativity, with a soft spot for Australian work and female-centric narratives.


Fable and Fizz would like to acknowledge the Whadjuck Noongar people as the traditional owners and continual custodians on the lands and waters this content is primarily written on. I pay respects to their Elders — past and present. This always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
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