'The Clockmaker's Daughter' Book Review

Updated: May 24

Book: The Clockmaker‘s Daughter Author: Kate Morton Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery Pages: 582

Published: 20th September 2018 (UK)


In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: To spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay isn’t over, one woman has been shot dead, while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, a an artist‘s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets? (Blurb of book)


Welcome to another one of my book reviews! Okay, okay, I admit it – despite my absolute LOVE for classic literature, the modern texts are definitely growing on me. Kate Morton, you’re amazing. So, a little bit of background – these are how these things work, right? I decided to read ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter’, because I remember seeing two of her previous books ‘The Forgotten Garden’ and ‘The House at Riverton’ on my mother’s bookshelf at home, so for a touch of childhood nostalgia, I decided to give this one a go – and I do not regret it! A brilliant story told through multiple narratives yet wonderfully woven into one.

To add a little to the synopsis above, the book follows the stories of numerous characters throughout time as they describe their experiences in relation to Birchwood Manor. The book begins with focusing on Elodie, an archivist who finds artist Edward Radcliffe's precious satchel along with a photograph and a sketchbook, she begins to unravel history to discover the secret identify of the woman photographed and her connection with the house. With a murder, a mystery and a love story; Morton’s novel is a magical read.

From the beginning, I was gripped. I couldn’t resist picking up this book and continuing it whenever I could, with my eagerness only growing with each page. It became my late night reading in bed, my go-to book for cuddling up on the sofa with a blanket, and perfect for reading by the fire with the rain pouring outside – the language and imagery is incredible, and you feel like you’re there with them. I’ll definitely be reading her other books if they’re as good as this one!

The characters all have unique qualities and personalities, each bringing something new to the story. Also, considering the mental health element of my blog, signs of post-traumatic stress disorder due to the war are also mentioned, highlighting the lonely struggle of soldiers after the war (yes, I'm weird! I always like to see how mental health is portrayed in writing!). I’ve read a couple of people’s reviews (on Goodreads), where they mentioned that the numerous narratives become confusing. Which while I do agree with this, it does keep you guessing and leads to plenty of surprises along the way. While 582 pages does sound quite a large read, it’s surprising how quickly it took to finish – particularly towards the end, the last 150 pages or so flew by! From young war evacuee Tip, bookworm Lucy to lonely Jack, all of the characters have a story to tell and each a different link to the mysterious Birchwood Manor…

This book has gained its well-earned place on my bookshelf – is it too early to read it again? I couldn’t recommend this book enough, giving it a 5 out of 5 because honestly, I couldn’t fault it. Have you read Kate Morton’s ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter’? What are your thoughts?

Take care, Sophie x

Disclaimer: As mentioned in my 'Terms and Conditions' page, I am not asked to write my book reviews, contacted by the author/publisher in any way nor have I been given anything in exchange for my reviews, unless otherwise stated.

The Clockmaker's Daughter, Kate Morton

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