There’s something so magical about a new Kate Morton book. I love her writing style and I have to say that when I was reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter, I found myself marvelling at the way she manages to write with such authenticity where other writers might struggle with bringing such a story to life through the page. She’s absolutely at the top of her game.
Reading a Kate Morton book is a big undertaking time-wise. They’re always big, this one is 600 pages, but the undertaking is one well worth making as it’s like starting out on a whole new adventure. Having said that, I did find this book took a little getting into, not in a ‘I’m bored with this’ kind of way but more in terms of having to take it slowly, absorb it all and wait whilst this incredibly talented writer started to bring all the threads together.
And it was worth waiting for. The story is wonderfully intricate and involving. It’s told by multiple voices over the course of 160 or so years which seem at first to have little connection to each other, but then secrets are revealed, mysteries start to be resolved and all of a sudden there is a dawning realisation of how everything and everybody is interlinked. The main characters are Elodie Winslow, the archivist who finds something in the course of her work that not only piques her interest but actually seems to have an invisible thread drawing her to Birchwood Manor, and an at first unknown narrator whose story is the glue that binds herself and Elodie with the other voices that we hear. I loved both of them, even though they’re quite different people, but I also very much enjoyed the sections looking at the other characters’ and their time at Birchwood Manor.
As is customary with Morton’s work, a house is at the very heart of the action and this time it is Birchwood Manor which takes centre stage. It has an ethereal presence in the narrative and if you’re thinking that a house can’t have a presence then you’re wrong as this one most definitely does.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is just utterly beautiful and enchanting, engrossing and moving. It covers a large period in time in fine fashion, taking us from a group of artists, through the two world wars, through the various incarnations of the house, right up to the present day, delighting the reader with an array of fascinating characters with their very own stories to tell. It’s a book to savour and enjoy and to thoroughly absorb yourself in. That’s what I did and I had myself an absolutely amazing experience.
Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes 5/4
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
Mantle 9780230759282 hbk Sep 2018