book reviews

The Clockmaker’s Daughter

Kate Morton

As I perused the shelves of Barnes and Nobel, I was looking for a title to catch my eye, to stand out amongst all the other books and say choose me! The Clockmaker’s Daughter, on that day, was the book that called out to me. Immediately, I was intrigued by the promise of Victorian London, art, and mystery. It wasn’t until after I made my purchase that I discovered both my mom and my roommate already own copies of the book — unfortunate for my bank account, but I was reassured to know that I was not the only one enticed by the novel.

I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the book, but the story definitely earned its ending. That is something that, as a writer, I am constantly reminded to keep in mind, and it was pleasant to recognize how Morton executed that in this book. Though I found it to be an effort to keep track of such a large cast of characters across such a large time period, it was all clearly tied together in the end which made any of my temporary confusions worth it.

I will admit that this was not an easy book to read — at least not in the way that many books I enjoy are. The writing is beautiful and easy to follow, but I did have to remind myself each day to pick up the book and read, which isn’t something I always have to do. However, I did still love the story and find that I appreciate it more in hindsight. It was a little bit of a leap for me, going from my comfort genre of young adult and fantasy to historical adult fiction, but I am veery glad that I did.

The intricacies and mysteries of The Clockmaker’s Daughter make it a captivating read. I love the way Morton slowly reveals more and more about each of the characters, and how, despite so many very different characters, Morton seems to know each one so well. I was drawn (no pun intended!) to the world of artists, and to the mystical and ethereal undertones that were so prevalent throughout the book.

While I very much love the plot and concepts of the story, I did feel like it was a little emotionally lacking. This is most likely simply a “me” grievance, but I often judge a book by how much I cry and how quickly I can get over it and move on to another book, and The Clockmaker’s Daughter didn’t move me as much as other books have. That said, I still did feel a strong sense of empathy and connectedness with the characters, and so there was enough emotion to keep me interested and invested.

I give The Clockmaker’s Daughter four stars for the mesmerizing way that Morton is able to intertwine so many storylines and characters, and for the shocking and earned ending! I think lovers of mysteries and historical fiction will enjoy this book, as well as readers who want a book that will make them pay attention and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Very soon I will be making another trip to the bookstore, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I will find myself wandering to Morton’s spot on the shelf.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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