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Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Fiction | The Clockmaker’s Daughter | Kate Morton

I absolutely adored The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.  I don’t think I can find the words to express adequately how this story made me feel …

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (book cover)

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse, and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames . . . Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out. A woman is killed, another disappears, and the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time.

Over the next century and beyond, Birchwood Manor welcomes many newcomers but guards its secret closely – until another young woman is drawn to visit the house because of a family secret of her own . . .

As the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton begins to unravel, we discover the stories of those who have passed through Birchwood Manor since that fateful day in 1862. Intricately layered and richly atmospheric, it shows that, sometimes, the only way forward is through the past.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton is published by Pan Macmillan and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover, paperback and audiobook formats.


Elodie (archivist with Stratton, Cadwell & Co) is on a quest in the summer of 2017 as she is compelled to find out more about the historic contents of a satchel linked to Edward Radcliffe and Birchwood Manor.  She knows people are hiding the truth and using her archivist skills, sets out to uncover the secret.

Her story is interspersed with the lives of other visitors to Birchwood Manor.  Ada who attended Birchwood when it was a school for young ladies, Leonard in 1928 writing his book, Juliet and her family during WWII and Jack on a hunt to find an item that is proving elusive.  I loved the emotional theme that weaves through all the visitor’s lives.  The suspense of not knowing at the end of Ada’s narration was fabulous.  I thought one thing but it was in fact something different!

There’s another important narrative too that brings Pale Joe into the story … and brings the strands together back to that heady summer in 1862.

The structure, tension and suspense the different narratives brings to the story is brilliant.

I loved all the settings. Life as a thief on the streets of Victorian London came alive for me as did time spent in Birchwood Manor, The Swan and the village at different time periods.   

Kate Morton’s figurative writing drew me in.  For example:

Free-floating anxiety circled the air above her like a mosquito looking to land a sting.

As the clock ticked over past midnight and the new day slid into position <snip>.

Folklore, myths and the supernatural all play a part in The Clockmaker’s Daughter giving the story an edge.

I became lost in the world of The Clockmaker’s Daughter as I turned those pages and dipped in and out of time.  It’s an atmospheric and absorbing read.  Highly recommended.


Kate Morton author photo

KATE MORTON is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author. Her novels – The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog), The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper and The Lake House – are published in over 40 countries, in 34 languages, and have all been number one bestsellers around the world. Kate’s new book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, will be published in September/October 2018.

Kate Morton was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.

“I fell deeply in love with books as a child and believe that reading is freedom; that to read is to live a thousand lives in one; that fiction is a magical conversation between two people – you and me – in which our minds meet across time and space. I love books that conjure a world around me, bringing their characters and settings to life, so that the real world disappears and all that matters, from beginning to end, is turning one more page.”

Qualified as a Sleep Consultant, Dyslexia Therapist, Reiki Master, Mental Health First Aider and Mindfulness Practitioner, my passion is for sharing anything that will make life easier. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind.

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