Monday, January 21, 2019

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

In the summer of 1862 a group of young artists meet at Birchwood Manor, the country home of Edward Radcliffe, who is one of the artists.  He has gained much popularity amongst the British art world for his portrayals of a beautiful young woman with flaming red hair.  They are there with their models to gain inspiration from the countryside and the river Thames, planning on spending the summer.  The house has always held a fascination for Edward, and he has felt since a child that it has called to him.  But the summer fun ends abruptly with the death of one of the group and another one missing.  Edward's perfect life takes an abrupt turn.

In present day, Elodie Wilson, comes across a leather satchel with a photo of a beautiful young lady and an artist's sketchbook with a sketch of a lovely house by a river.  Working as an archivist she recognizes that this may hold some significance to the past and is determined to find out who the beautiful woman is and where the house is.  As she discovers, there is way more to this mysterious person and the house than she bargained for.

I was really looking forward to this new book from this author.  She has quickly become a favorite from the other books I have read from her.  This story, however, was just ok for me.  For me, it suffered from way too many characters, with way too many story lines spanning over a time period of 150 or so years, and sometimes the connecting of them all felt a little forced.  I thought the story could have used a bit of editing.  When I turned the last page and days after finishing the story, I was still trying to remember how some characters were connected and what they had to do with or how they came to be at the house.    It also had a ghost element which is not my cup of tea in stories and had I have known that I would have passed it by.  The premise was interesting but the execution didn't work for me.  I did, however,like the descriptions of old London and the glimpses into the seedier side of orphan life of those days.  Those were interesting and sad at the same time.  If you like historical fiction melded with the present day and a ghostly element to your stories this still may be something you might enjoy.  I have loved several other books from this author so even though this was  a miss for me, I will still look forward to other novels from her.   


Karen said...

I think that as authors become more prolific, there's bound to be a miss now and then. She is one of my favorites, too. I'll still read this book, but maybe if I don't set my sights too high (which I always do with favorite writers) I'll be surprised! Love your reviews, Susanne.

Faith said... sister is telling me she loves it!

I'm still on the waiting list at the library for it so if it finally gets to me within the next month I'll most likely read it. I usually LOVE her books. There was one not so much but now i can't remember the title.

Good review!

nikkipolani said...

Like you, I’ve enjoyed several of Kate Morton’s books. They are usually well characterized with a poignant storyline though on the long side. It’s hard to keep up with aaalll the characters in a long book.