The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton is a haunting tale about an artist, a manor, and a priceless gem, and the interwoven lives of the manor’s mysterious occupants. I had high expectations for this book as I am a fan of Kate’s previous book The Lake House and trained as an Archivist like one of the characters. With that being said, I was left feeling disappointed with this book. I found it to be extremely slow-paced and the story itself was boring. It was an average whodunnit that really wasn’t all that interesting. I was confused as to what the story was really about? Was it a ghost story? A crime story? A story about a mysterious manor? Birchwood Manor was the main character, so I think it might have been more appropriate to rename the book as such. I felt the story was saturated with too many characters and it was difficult to keep up with them. As other readers have pointed out, it would have been nice if the two main characters didn’t share a similar names- Lily and Lucy. The Eldritch Children seemed last-minute and I’m not really sure why Elodie’s subplot was included since it was left unresolved. The Clockmaker’s Daughter needed a stronger supernatural element, less characters, and a more intriguing central mystery.
From the author of the The Witch’s Daughter comes a brand new time bending adventure story that will make you never look at antiques in the same way again.
Without giving away any spoilers, this story follows a Mother & Daughter duo as they attempt to rebuild their lives in rural England by opening up an antique shop. What follows is a magical silver piece with a sordid past , a violent ghost, ley lines, a good old-fashioned love story, English politics, and proper English gentleman.
The author’s use of descriptive language to evoke a charming English village and its previous centuries old history, not only transports the main character, but also transports the reader to another time and place.
The strong relationship between the main character Xanthe and her Mother Flora was a nice added break from stories about estranged parents and dysfunctional families. It’s what kept the reader anchored to the present but also floating to the 17th century sub plot as well. It is their mutual love that drives the story forward like an old-fashioned carriage, a little bumpy, but reliable nonetheless.
The supernatural aspect of the story was tasteful and effective as were the bits of romance. Readers will appreciate the female characters who were each strong in their own ways appropriate to their statuses. The main character Xanthe is a heroine, with her mud-stained cheesecloth rags she rescues an innocent young girl from her terrible fate, and in doing so, rescues a part of herself that she lost after enduring her own terrible fate prior to moving to Marlborough.
We see how this charming English village of Marlborough evolved into a more modern version of itself but still retained the same type of personalities even after hundreds of years. This made the story more believable, as the past and present are always interacting with each other and it is those long forgotten items and discarded antiques that are some of the greatest witnesses of history. If we started treating them as such, as opposed to a price tag, we would develop a greater appreciation for the present.
Be careful not to hold onto this book too tightly, for you might find yourself transported to 17th century England…oh and if you do, a minstrel is always a good disguise.