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The Clockmaker's Daughter

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

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 is 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, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

485 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2018

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About the author

Kate Morton

28 books21.1k followers
KATE MORTON grew up in the mountains of south-east 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."

Kate Morton's six novels - The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper, The Lake House, and The Clockmaker's Daughter - have all been New York Times bestsellers, Sunday Times bestsellers and international number 1 bestsellers; they are published in 34 languages, across 42 countries.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at https://www.katemorton.com or connect on http://www.facebook.com/KateMortonAuthor or instagram.com/katemortonauthor/

To stay up-to-date on Kate's books and events, join her mailing list here: https://www.katemorton.com/mailing-list/

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5 stars
21,337 (23%)
4 stars
34,802 (38%)
3 stars
24,751 (27%)
2 stars
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1 star
2,050 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,848 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,000 reviews58.9k followers
November 29, 2018
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton is a 2018 Atria Books publication.

As the early reviews for this book started to trickle in, I was concerned by too many opening lines that began with: ‘I love Kate Morton’s books, she is one of my favorite authors, but…’

In a year where I’ve been very disappointed in some of my favorite authors, I was terrified it was about to happen again. However, I was determined to keep an open mind, and still eagerly anticipated reading this one. But, by the time the book made it to the top of the heap, I also felt a great deal of trepidation.

The writing, as always, is simply mesmerizing. Morton’s prose is eloquent and often a thing of beauty. But, the story, this time around, failed to draw me in. I even put the book aside for a while and picked it back up in October hoping the ghostly theme would fit into my fall and Halloween frame of mind.

Sadly, I still struggled with it, mightily. For one thing, the pacing is too slow, and there is that large cast of characters, something I tend to struggle with, even under the best of circumstances. I often complain I'm not receiving enough of a challenge in my books. I feel authors often dumb things down for mass consumption, but in this case, I had to work entirely too hard to piece the puzzle together. As embarrassing as it is to admit, when I finished the book I was just plain confused. I had to go back and re-read large portions of the story before it finally came together for me. After all that labor, the ending was very anticlimactic, unsatisfactory, and literally limped across the finish line.

I’ve put off writing this review because I just didn’t feel up to the grueling exercise of trying to articulate my thoughts, especially since, like so many others, Morton is one my all -time favorite writers. Her talent is still quite evident, but with Morton, who is the opposite of prolific, I will have the taste of this book in my mouth for a long time before she provides me with an opportunity to rinse it out.

However, I do think I may still have one of her back-listed titles languishing in my TBR pile, so maybe that will help cleanse the palate until Morton offers more sustenance- hopefully, sooner, rather than later.

2.5 rounded up- mainly because the prose is second to none
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews513 followers
October 9, 2018
You know you’re a baller when your name is bigger than the title🙌🤗

- - - - - - - - -

When the queen writes it, you read it.

Kate Morton is my number one favorite author - I have read every one of her books and will read her grocery list if I had the option. She is the author I recommend above anyone else. Her lyrical, magical writing is a thing of beauty and such a gift. I admire her tremendously.

Admittedly, this is not my favorite of Ms. Morton’s (may I recommend The Secret Keeper and The Lake House), but is still a beautiful masterpiece. I admire not only the exquisite writing but also the attention to detail and great amount of historical research, oftentimes seeped in tragedy, that clearly goes into her books.

This is a difficult book to summarize as it is extremely intricate in its plotting and development with multiple characters, timelines, and points of view. Yet I have to say I simply adored every single storyline and couldn’t wait to see how they would converge.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, look no further. Kate Morton is your gal.

4.5 stars

Thank you to Atria for my advance copy. This book is now available!
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,694 reviews14.1k followers
September 17, 2018
Find your favorite reading spot, grab your beverage of choice, (actually this would be the perfect book to read in front of a fireplace, wrapped in a quilt, watching the snow or rain fall, but I didn't have those choices) and let Kate Morton transport you to Birchwood Manor on the Thames. Yes, she has written about another house, a house that has witnessed great love and unbearable loss, a house that is the repository of many a secret. An immersive, and seductive read, albeit a leisurely one. A Gothic tale, where past and present meet, where there is someone who has witnessed it all, unable to leave.

Lush settings, and fantastic period detail. Of impressions of people on places throughout history. Many characters who tell their stories, not in alternate chapters as is usual in these type of dual timeline stories, but in a brilliant rendering of the blending of time on this house that has witnessed so much. The stories of the present and the past bleed into each other, until the connections between them are revealed. I loved it, I think Morton has outdone herself here. This is not a novel to be rushed through, but one to sink into and enjoy. Many characters, but it is not necessary, maybe a little impossible, to remember and place them all in their timelines, all will become clear. Patience, dear reader.

There is art, a mystery, a disappearance of a beautiful gemstone and a beloved person. There are bereft children, sans parents, and a few young girls who each hold a key to unraveling the story. The resolution may not please all, but I found it fitting, some houses may never give up all their secrets. The prose is wonderful, insightful and many that are quotable. I had a few favorites but could have found many more.

"Human beings are curators. Each polishes his or her own favored memories, in order to create a narrative that pleases. Some events are repared and polished for display; others are deemed unworthy and cast aside, shelved below ground in the overflowing storeroom of the mind. The process is not dishonest: it is the only way people can live with themselves and the weight of their experiences.

"Parents and children. The simplest relationship in the world and yet the most complex. One generation passes to the next a suitcase filled with jumbled jigsaw pieces from countless puzzles collected over time and says, "See what you can make out of these."

The above are a few I loved, believe me there are many more.

ARC from Edelweiss.

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,419 reviews77.6k followers
September 12, 2018
Well, I guess you can tell from my rating that this wasn’t my favorite book by Morton, but it wasn’t bad. Maybe my expectations were simply not in the right place, but I had a difficult time following the jumping timelines and in turn, connecting with the characters. I’ll think on this one a bit more before writing a full review, but fans of her previous work might be appreciative to know going into this that it’s a bit different than her other novels. Full review to come.

*I received a review copy from the publisher.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,091 reviews1,508 followers
September 20, 2018
When it comes to an author like Kate Morton readers should be well aware that they will find great writing when picking up a new book and that was still the case with The Clockmaker’s Daughter. However, even with lovely writing sometimes things just don’t work for some readers and that would be my dilemma with this one.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction read told from multiple points of view over the course of decades. In the present Elodie Winslow is going through an old satchel when she comes across a few items that draw her interest. Readers are then taken back to the mid 1800s to the Birchwood Manor and the mystery that surrounds it.

Now, normally I am one that can love a story with multiple characters and multiple timelines however it all depends on the way things are done. With this story the author has taken multiple to a whole new level in the fact I found it hard to keep track of so many characters coming into the story. Sometimes I would get the feeling I may need to take notes and then reading feels more like homework than relaxation.

With so much going on I had a hard time connecting to the characters and story with struggling to keep up too. Quite often I wouldn’t know who I was following and for me I prefer a clearer style to follow. In the end I’d say this one just wasn’t my cup of tea but I’m sure some readers will love it.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Dem.
1,184 reviews1,080 followers
February 14, 2019
A case of Quantity over Quality comes to mind on finishing this novel. A disappointing read with way too many characters and time frames to keep track of and at 582 pages I just found this was a very time consuming read with a story that just plodded along and lacked any real suspense or tension and ended up being an uneventful and tedious read.

Having loved Kate Morton's first two novel's I am always hoping for something as suspensful or entertaining but this one just didn't cut the mustard for me. Her prose if vivid and descriptive but the plot and characters was just lacking on this one. Too many characters and time frames left this a confusing read for me. Just when I though I was connecting with a set of charactes and getting to grips with the story another set of characters was introduced and I found every time I picked this novel up it took me a few pages to figure out which character I was reading about and what was going on in the story. I honestly became bored and picking up this book was quite a chore for me.

I didn't find it a suspensful or interesting read and feel that this could easily have been a book reduced to 350 pages with a few less characters and it would have had better impact on me.

I finished this one with a sigh of relief and really didn't care for any of the characters. I did enjoy the prose and descriptive nature of the novel and this for me earned its 2 Stars . I seems to be at odds with many of my friends on this one so perhaps check out 4 and 5 Star reviews.
Profile Image for Donna P.
34 reviews16 followers
May 21, 2018
First of all, I want to say that I am a HUGE Kate Morton fan. I have loved pretty much every book she has written, and I have recommended her books to so many people. That said, The Clockmaker's Daughter is a major disappointment. I could barely finish it and only kept going because it was Kate Morton, and I was sure it would get better. It didn't.

There are far too many characters to keep track of in this story, and there are at least four or five different time periods that you are randomly whipped to and from. There were so many times reading this book where I had to stop and think "Wait...who is this person again?" or "Where are we now?"

The bigger problem is that, unlike Morton's previous books, I didn't really care about the mystery at the center of the story all that much. And the shocking reveals that are at the heart of so many of Morton's books were not all that shocking at all.

I guess Morton has become so successful that her publisher thinks she doesn't need editing. But a firm editor is exactly what this book needed. Well, here's hoping her next book is a return to form.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
July 7, 2018
Kate Morton writes a beautiful piece of epic interconnected historical fiction, with a strong fantastical element, through the ages, with the focus on the rambling Birchwood Manor by the Thames. In 1862, the owner of the Manor, the gifted artist, Edward Radcliffe, and a group of bohemian artists spend the summer there, hoping to be artistically inspired. However, it all ends in catastrophe as a woman is murdered, plus the orphaned artistic muse, Birdie Bell, the clockmaker's daughter, disappears suspected of the theft and Edward's life is shattered into pieces. What really happened? In the present, a young London archivist on the cusp of getting married, Elodie Winslow, is trawling through the archives of James Stratton, and in a leather satchel finds a photograph of a Victorian woman and a sketchbook with the drawing of a home by the river, which somehow feels familiar.

With multiple narrators, we learn of the history of Birchwood Manor, those who have resided there through the generations and their lives, intrigue and difficulties, throughout with the ghostly presence of Birdie Bell. All these disparate stories over time come to connect. Elodie delves into the mystery of the items in the satchel, unaware of her personal family connection and how her investigations will impact on her future and personal life. This is a story of Birchwood Manor, murder, mystery, theft, secrets, lies, art, love, loss and both world wars. The author gives us rich historical details in a narrative that goes back and forth in time in this atmospheric and complex tale. I found this novel entertaining and absorbing if a trifle over long. Many thanks to Panmacmillan for an ARC.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,086 reviews30.1k followers
November 12, 2018
4.5 sublime stars to The Clockmaker’s Daughter! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟.5

Told in multiple storylines, the first is set in 1862. Edward Radcliffe, an esteemed artist, organizes a group of other young artists to holiday at Birchwood Manor on the Thames. Their objective is to laze away the summer among inspiration and exercising their creativity. What happens instead is a murder, a disappearance, and a missing heirloom.

In the present, Elodie Winslow is an archivist living in London. She runs across two items that she cannot shake, a photograph of an alluring woman and a drawing of a house on a river. Somehow Elodie feels connected to these objects. But how?

I’m a fan of Kate Morton. It started with The Forgotten Garden and never ended. Her books are long, they are in rich in details, and it takes some time to wade through; but the experience is like wading through the most pristine, sheer tropical blue waters, enveloped in glorious details that enrich the story and do not detract or weigh down (or push back) the delight.

It especially takes some time for the pieces of The Clockmaker’s Daughter to take shape and fall in line. But when they do, the pace quickens, and the story is as engaging as one would hope. It’s a murder mystery with wholesome and resonant themes of love and loss. Someone special, alluded to in the synopsis, witnessed all that has happened at Birchwood Manor over the years. She knows its harbored secrets and its most seductive love. The writing is insightful and unforgettable (many passages to highlight!). Will Birchwood Manor ever shed its shroud of secrets?

Thank you to Atria Books for the physical copy. I was absolutely elated to receive a copy in the mail! All opinions are my own.

I read this sublime book with five book friends: Melisa, Holly, Berit, Mackenzie, and Kendall. What an experience it was!
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
January 7, 2020
4.5 Stars

Captivating, mysterious and spellbinding!

KATE MORTON once again put me under her spell with her fabulous new novel THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER. The setting was just as bewitching as the storytelling! I absolutely loved the fantastical elements of this story, learning all the secrets hidden in Birchwood Manor and the character connections to the ghostly presence of Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter which was so pivotal to the story for me. I love me a good ghost story!

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by KATE MORTON is an engrossing, wonderful, and breathtaking read here that offers many and such distinctive storylines that I found rather alluring and definitely appealed to me as a reader. I was immediately drawn into this gothic story and it fully captivated my thoughts while I was reading this book.

KATE MORTON skillfully delivers an absolutely beautiful, richly detailed, complex and atmospheric read here that vastly intertwines different time periods and multiple characters together into one astounding and powerful story.

Even though I had to closely pay attention to all the characters and how they were connected to the story and Birchwood Manor it did not take away how entertaining and enjoyable this story was for me. It was great storytelling and the whole story felt like I was doing just that reading a story! I have been craving for a story just like this one and it definitely delivered!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, stunning, pleasing, and grabbed my attention! That cover alone made me want to read this book and savour every word. A fitting representation to storyline and love how it played into the story so meaningfully.
Title: Intriguing, pivotal, suspenseful, simple but yet an extremely fitting representation to the storyline. Even though The Clockmaker’s Daughter wasn’t necessarily a brilliant title, the ties that bind her to the story definitely was.
Writing/Prose: Lyrical, insightful, engaging, beautiful, and detailed. Morton’s writing style is beautifully detailed and poetic but it definitely required my full attention though. I forgot how beautifully descriptive Morton writes! Once I was able to fully immerse myself in this tale though (which didn’t take very long) and had the feel with how it was written it was much easier for me to read.
Plot: Suspenseful, mysterious, alluring, engrossing, steady-paced, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining. A little bit of patience goes a long way when reading this book!
Ending: Bittersweet, satisfying, and ended with a bit of mystery. Although I found it to be extremely fitting.
Overall: An irresistible, relaxing, delightful, suspenseful, and fabulous read! An epic historical tale that was a little challenging to read at times but oh so worth it! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for my ARC to read and review! It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:
Profile Image for Tammy.
506 reviews422 followers
November 8, 2018
The discovery of an old photograph kicks off this account about the inhabitants of a manor house which eventually contains a mannerly prescence. An archivist, archeologist, painter and pick pocket are among the people that pepper this tale. Moving between the late 1850’s, early 1860’s, post WWI, WWII and the summer of 2017, Morton’s plot is typically dense and contains a wide variety of characters with fuzzy familial and tangential relationships. Some characters are introduced only to have their storylines dropped or underdeveloped. This highly anticipated novel will, no doubt, thrill Morton’s fans. Initially I was engaged but ultimately I was not overly enthused.
January 2, 2019
4.5 stars!

Evocatively atmospheric. Exquisitely detailed. Brilliantly narrated.

Let me start by stating, I love Kate Morton! She is one of my most favourite authors! I have read and loved all of her books. This one, although not the full 5 stars I was hoping for, does not disappoint. I devoured this lengthy novel in days, putting aside all other reading to truly focus on her luscious and delectable writing. This novel stole time away from things I should have been doing, while at the same time I was trying to truly savour every single word of Kate Morton’s brilliance.

This is a multigeneration saga that expands well over 100 years involving love, loss, mystery, murder, art and many hidden secrets. Each timeline adds a deeper layer to this intricately woven and highly detailed story. There are multiple characters and a most memorable and divine English countryside setting that had me swooning. Birchwood Manor, the main setting throughout this novel, is a character of its own and I fell in love with this old mansion that held many secrets.

I was engrossed within this mysterious tale from start to finish. There were a few times, I had to stop and reread sections, as I found myself slightly confused within a few timelines and characters, however, my attention didn’t waver. It was a fully satisfying and memorable read that I would highly recommend.

This was a Traveling Sister read. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit our blog at:


Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Kate Morton for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is AVAILABLE NOW!
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,806 followers
October 1, 2018
A romantic love story, a mystery and a murder

Birchwood Manor is located near the Thames and it is at the center of this story and it also holds the truth about what happened one summer in 1862. The house is like a character and has "a voice" that whispers to the reader and makes connections that won't be revealed until later. I kept asking myself, "who is speaking"? That will be revealed later.

The story spans from the 1860's to present day and artist, Edward Radcliffe is at the heart of the mystery.  He has found the love of his life, but will his heart will be broken? This part of the story felt old-fashioned and romantic. The characters in the present day story felt very modern and I was intrigued to find out what the connections between past and present were.

This is my first Kate Morton book and it was such an atmospheric, detailed and absorbing tale. There was intrigue, mystery and a rich setting that I could picture perfectly in my mind. I thought the characters were interesting and I wanted to learn what would happen to them in the end. This is not a fast paced page-turner, it is more like a slow brewing mystery. I took my time and enjoyed this one.

Yes, there are lots of characters and two time periods, but the author was able to capture my imagination. I wanted to keep turning the pages to learn the secrets of the mansion. I also enjoyed gathering the many clues that were revealed along the way.

I enjoyed getting immersed in the characters and unraveling the extensive plot. The rich details of this beautifully written novel were an added bonus.

Thanks to Atria for my copy.  Review will post to my blog on publication date 10/09/2018.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
October 12, 2018
A beautifully told story about a house, a love, and a ghost....

This is my third Kate Morton book and just as her previous books were this book was a slow burn... some books are a quick little getaway this book was a journey... The journey of a house and it’s ghost, through many decades and many eyes.... an old-fashioned love story, a contemporary mystery, and so much inbetween... This story really is like a complicated and beautiful weaving... at the beginning there are so many threads none of them seeming to be connected.... but as Kate Morton begins to work the loom and weave the story together, a beautiful picture is formed... just remember when you pick this book up sometimes weaving takes some patients and effort, but the end result is so worth it!

A love story, a ghost story, a murder, a theft, a complex plot.... this book is crammed full of interesting characters with interesting lives and if I’m being completely honest sometimes we did not get to explore those lives as thoroughly as I would have liked.... The two constant characters in this book were unlikely, the house and the ghost... both were extremely engaging and intriguing, and both had a story of their own... and as the characters traveled in and out of this house through time we really saw them through the eyes of the House and the ghost... an extremely well done go story, it will make you a believer, it really was never over the top.... a perfect addition to an October read....

As much as I appreciated this book when I finished... I have to admit it was a little tough to get into in the beginning... there are a lot of characters and it seemed a little jarring and disjointed, but I had to trust... trust that Kate Morton would bring this all together and at about 30% she really did, The picture began to come together.... and at the end of the book it was quite an exquisite picture indeed!

Absolutely recommend to fans of this author and to those of you who have the patience and passion for a complex book that spans many lives and a century and a half ...

*** A huge thank you to Atria for my copy ***
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.5k followers
November 1, 2018
3.7 Stars* (rounded up)

My First Kate Morton: Lyrical, Magical and Mysterious.

While conducting her work in London, Elodie, an Archivist, discovers a painting of a woman, along with a drawing of a house, set alongside a river. Both intrigue her and she must find out more about them. One hundred and fifty years prior, Edward Radcliffe a young artist spent time at Birchwood Manor where he planned to paint and to dream. Something however went awry, leaving Edward’s life in tatters.

Elodie is swept away by her research, by the mystery and by another life which seems much more exciting than her own.

The storytelling is vivid and the loss is incomprehensible. There is love, lots of secrets, a murder and believe it or not, a ghost! The setting is breathtaking and lush: Birchwood Manor, London and The Thames River! “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is a complex tale that was a bit slow moving for me, however the prose was quite lovely and the writing was unforgettable.

Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Morton for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads on 11.1.18.
Profile Image for James.
Author 18 books3,533 followers
August 4, 2022
Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors, and when The Clockmaker's Daughter came out this year, I was one of the first to jump on NetGalley to get a copy. I was so excited to be awarded the book and added it to my August reading queue. It made for a good alternate style given I'm also running a children's book readathon this month! Although not my favorite of all her novels, it's an enchanting story and covers a lot of beautiful generations within a couple of families...

What I loved the most about this book was how you never quite knew who was speaking in the beginning of a chapter. It took a few paragraphs or a page or two before it became obvious. Some might be bothered by this approach, but it added to mystery and ambiance for me. The Radcliffe family was quite peculiar, and I wondered whether it would turn out to be accidental death or murder for one or two characters. As the story unfolds and we learned about Elodie in 2017/8 discovering the past, everything comes flooding forward. There are memorable characters in this book and I recommend it for that reason alone. On the flip side, there are over 30 main characters, so it gets a tad difficult to keep focused if you have to put the book down for more than a day at a time. Don't read it with anything else like I did.

Morton is the queen of lyrical words and astounding settings. The plot is strong, and the twist at the end is great. Along the path, it's much lighter tho... less about the mystery and more about hearing what happened to people over a century. I found myself eager for more action than present in the book. But it still captured my heart and attention. A solid 4 stars.
October 9, 2018
Traveling Sisters Group Read

This was my first book by Kate Morton and I really didn’t know what to expect from one of her books. I went into this one with a few other books on the go and I found out there are a few things you might need to know when you read The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

This is a story to savor every beautifully written detail and the story and characters need focus and attention. The story spans over 150 years and many themes are explored here and there is an extensive amount of characters being introduced through this atmospheric setting. The characters are interesting and engaging and ones you really want to take the time to get to know.

This one makes for a perfect buddy read or group read. We highly recommend for group reads. We really enjoyed our discussion and it was so great to share in the excitement with each other over this one. This is a story to really get lost in. It’s the perfect one to find to cozy up in your favorite reading spot with your choice of beverage, ignore the world and lock yourself into this story.

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a ARC to read and review! It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

For more reviews from the Traveling Sister, please check out our blog

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,397 reviews801 followers
September 25, 2019
“Kitty wore her cynicism well, but Leonard had known her before the war and he could see all the stitches that were holding the costume together.”

Kitty and Leonard are just one of several generations of characters Morton introduces us to, all connected to Birchwood Manor at one time or other in their lives. Some characters were taken there as children, some have met each other there, some have stumbled across it in their travels, and we know someone has died there.

In the opening pages, the narrator gives us this page-turner.

“A gunshot in the dark. The light went out and everything was black. . . He packed his things to leave and I could not make him stop.
The others followed, as they always did.
And I? I had no choice; I stayed behind.”

The narrator has separate chapters, headed with Roman numerals. Interspersed are the several stories, not in chronological order, of the other groups. Each group has a reasonably extensive back story so that we become invested in the characters, and I enjoyed them all. At some point or other, they may have crossed paths, perhaps unwittingly, but we can figure it out easily enough.

Morton writes doorstop novels, so I knew what I was in for, and it IS another long book with which I admit I became a wee bit impatient. But I also have to say I appreciated how well I got to know all her people. I think the only way to have abbreviated the story would have been to omit a generation or two.

Leonard, from the first quote, was a war veteran (WWI) whose story serves as a kind of midpoint between 1862 and 2017, the earliest period and today, when Elodie, the first “main” character finds a satchel and photograph that intrigue her and set her off to investigate its origins.

Her story is 2017; her great-uncle Tip’s story is from 1940 as a child during WWII, and there are sections for 1882, 1890, 1962, and 1992. I may have missed some, but no matter.

Morton is wonderfully descriptive, and while Birchwood Manor doesn’t have the kind of awe-inspiring or gothic appeal of some of the grand buildings of literature, it does have some genuinely creepy parts around which the plot hinges. She also doesn't dwell on the architecture and furniture (for which, thank you, Kate), rather she gives us the mood and atmosphere (along with a slight but important old ghost story).

The grounds themselves seem to have a magical, protective quality which affects several characters who find a brief respite there. The location on the banks of the upper Thames river is both attractive and dangerous. (Someone drowns - not a spoiler.)

A well-known painter, Edward Radcliffe, bought Birchwood Manor in 1861, and in the summer of 1862 takes his model, his friends, and his little sister to visit. What should have been a glorious holiday disintegrates rapidly with the opening scenario with the gunshot. And there's a famous family gem that disappears.

His model is Birdie/Lily, a street urchin (straight out of Dickens) who became a striking young woman. Her story is an interesting, major thread. Little sister Lucy is another who features in a small way at first, but who turns out to have been integral to a major plot point.

In later years, the Manor becomes a museum and a school for girls among other things. We meet the other “generations” of characters as they visit, stay, or just stumble across the place for a picnic.

Their story is told in the third person by the author, but the narrator’s view of the comings and goings is necessarily restricted in some ways but all-seeing in other ways. About one man, the narrator says:

“We are of one mind tonight, he and I. Each of us separated from the people we love; each of us waking through memories of the past, seeking resolution.

All human beings crave connection, even the introverts; it is too frightening for them to think themselves alone. the world, the universe – existence – is simply too big. Thank God, they cannot glimpse how much bigger it is than they think.”

The book itself is bigger than I thought, not just in size, but in the number of stories it encompasses. As I look back now, I realise how much I enjoyed the characters, and I’d have a hard time pointing the finger at anyone in particular and saying “CUT”. Some voices were distinctive, but some of the young women seemed similar, and some of the men were probably unnecessary.

But not Tip. He was necessary, both as a little fellow and as a curmudgeonly Great Uncle.

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for the handsome review copy, which I have filled with stickers with dates and names. I could have used a good table of contents and an index, I think. : )

I think Morton fans will enjoy this one, index or not!
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
416 reviews14.4k followers
October 9, 2018
How to describe a book like The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton? The story itself is delicate, like spun sugar. It is timeless, not bound by a single story thread, but comprised of a tangle of threads that weave backwards and forwards like the winding of a clock. In that way, The Clockmaker’s Daughter couldn’t have a more perfect titular figure and motif.

I found this book to be thought-provoking and haunting, but not in the way you’d expect. There is a ghost, of course. But this book is haunting in the way a beloved place can be haunting. The feeling that the moment you return to the place, all of your memories and the memories of others flood back, and you’re surrounded by everything that place has experienced. At its core, that is what I’d say The Clockmaker’s Daughter is about.

Full review to follow :)
Profile Image for Lisa.
734 reviews
November 28, 2018
What a breathtaking read This was my first book by the very talented Kate Morton, & I must say I loved every moment of The Clockmakers Daughter it was beautifully written , atmospheric & the characters were woven into each other very well. The prose is told by multiple POV's which at times I had to look back at who was saying what, but that didn't detract my enjoyment or my rating. It was a quick paced premise that had me turning all 592 pages I was finished in no time.

Set in 1862 Edward Radcliffe an esteemed artist organises a group of other artists holiday at Birchwood Manor on the Thames their time spent there is to enjoy the summer, but instead turns out to be a murder, a disappearance & a missing heirloom.

Go forwards the summer of 2017 Elodie Winslow an archivist comes across a box with a satchel inside & a photograph of an unknown woman. Elodie's best friend since school Pippa helps her find out the truth about the satchel & the lady in the photo, what they discover is a heartbreaking look into the background of Edward Radcliffe life & it was such a harrowing read that drew every emotion out of me I felt sorrow for Birdie her life was so hard losing her father & mother, being brought up in a girls home where horrendous things occurred.

All I can say is WOW!! this book is well worth reading if you have not discovered Kate Morton well here is your chance.
Profile Image for Jenny.
269 reviews95 followers
October 23, 2018
Every Monday my alarm clock goes off at the unforgiving hour of 4 AM. I am slow to rise and usually hit the snooze button at least once, trying to enjoy just a few more minutes in my comfy bed snuggled under the covers. Then I am forced to tackle the morning routine of getting ready for work as the clock seems to tick a little faster before I find myself rushing out the door to get to work and begin hours of nonstop activity.
As my work day ends the rest of my day doesn’t as I come home to pick up the pace again with household chores, dinner and then a little downtime before bed.
When I thought about Kate Morton’s newest novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, I couldn’t help but think that her book had that same ebb and flow of a day for me. It was a little slow to start as we are introduced to present day Elodie Winslow, a London archivist, who starts researching a photograph found inside an antique satchel. Thus begins the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
From there we are transported back in time to the 1800s to figure out who is the mysterious woman in the photograph.
Each page feels like the opening of Pandora’s box as we are now held captive until we find out her identity as well as her fate. It’s a love story, a murder mystery and a story full of so many secrets.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter delivers on all fronts. It’s one of the most accurate and richly detailed historical fictional novels. Morton’s book is one that is worth owning. Read it now and absorb as much as you can, then put it on your shelf and in a few years on a rainy Saturday afternoon, pick it up and get lost in it again in Morton’s beautiful tale.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #theclockmakersdaughter
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,160 reviews2,009 followers
November 14, 2018
Some Kate Morton books work for me and some do not. This one does. I enjoyed it despite the length which was a tad excessive!

As usual there is more than one time period and lots of flipping back and forth, which means the reader has to pay attention at all times! There are many very likable characters who are all linked together in various ways which also requires concentration. I weakened before the end and thus missed a couple of connections but it did not spoil the book one bit.

The story was excellent and the final denouement regarding the missing Lily was a stunner! Very clever indeed. All in all a good read and for me a stronger book than some of her others.
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
556 reviews972 followers
August 1, 2020
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a beautiful and at times heartbreaking read. I am a fan of Kate Morton, and this is by far her best book yet. The characters are complex and well developed, the setting is descriptive, and the tale itself is simply fantastic. I was sad when the book was coming to a close and felt Morton’s ending was perfect and unexpected. The Clockmaker’s Daughter is truly a masterpiece.

Before I started The Clockmaker’s Daughter, a colleague told me to read slowly and pay close attention because the book jumps around in time a fair amount and without much warning and there are a lot of characters. This was very useful advice; as a result, I enjoyed savoring the setting, the characters, and the story itself while also making sure I kept up with the numerous characters and time periods. Every time I recommend this book to someone, I give them the same advice – slow down your reading, savor the story, and keep up with the various characters.

I absolutely loved this book. It is one of my top 10 picks of the year and still think about it regularly. It is truly a fabulous read.

Listen to my podcast at https://www.thoughtsfromapage.com for fun author interviews. For more book reviews, check out my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro....
Profile Image for Kendall.
635 reviews633 followers
October 29, 2018
This was one first read by Kate Morton and I have to say it was an experience that I was pleasantly surprised with. I stepped out of my comfort zone.... and am so glad I did because I truly learned what defines me as a reader.

To say that Kate Morton had me with her words... is an understatement. She truly astonished me with her eloquence and ability to form words that fell off the pages with ease.

"The winds blew and the trees moaned, and thunder rolled down the river to take the house within it's clutches; while inside, talk turned to spirits and curses. There was a fire, crackling in the grate, and the candle flames quivered, and in the darkness, in that atmosphere of delicious fear and confession, something ill was conjured." Not a ghost, oh, no not that- the deed when done was entirely human."

This book is very complex.... and the plot is very hard to explain. The storyline has layer upon layer that leaves you very confused in the beginning. In all honestly, I was frustrated and felt that my reading experience was blurred due to putting in work trying to follow each and every time zone and character. Now, this may not be everyone's same experience while reading this.

Although, once the 30-40 percent mark hit... the storylines began to come alive for me. Kate's talent began to poor off the pages with the journey behind each character that aligned nicely at the end. It almost reminded me of a giant jigsaw puzzle.. where you have to put in some "work" to get your final product ;).

The chapters I felt were extremely unique numbered in Roman numerals/time concept which aligns again very well with the overall theme of this book.

I think what I learned through my reading experience with The Clockmaker's Daughter is that sometimes a book isn't about the "hype" or getting to that final twist.... it's igniting a flame in each and every reader that connects/processes the book differently.

I'm so glad I had my wonderful book besties along my side during this new journey of historical fiction.

Overall, 3.5 clock stars rounded down.

Huge thank you to Atria and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Publication date: 10/9/18
Published to GR: 10/7/18
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,258 reviews2,942 followers
October 10, 2018
3.5 stars

This book contains so many of the elements I have come to expect and love in a Kate Morton story but unfortunately it takes awhile to get to see everything in play. The first 75 pages or so are the weakest in my opinion and it wasn't until about the halfway mark when I felt fully invested in the story. Don't give up on the book though because when things start tying in together it becomes a heartbreaking yet beautiful tale just like Morton's other novels.

It's kinda hard to give a good synopsis for the book without giving too much away. Basically all you need to know is some of the story takes place in the 1800s at Edward Radcliffe's Birchwood Manor and in the present day archivist Elodie Winslow has just discovered some items at her job that will lead her on a quest to get some answers. Be prepared for secrets, lies, love, betrayal, etc. as Kate Morton certainly knows how to bring it all on.

There's a fairly large cast of characters and part of the problem with the book is just when you get used to one character it bounces to another one in a different time period. As a reader you feel frustrated but I do think the end result is worth it. I recommend reading this if you are a Kate Morton fan even if this one isn't my favorite of hers. (The Secret Keeper and The House at Riverton are tops in my opinion. ) If you have never read anything by Kate Morton before, read one of her previous novels first as it is a better display of her talent. She really is an incredible writer and one of only a few I'm willing to shell out some extra bucks for and pay full price just to get it the day it comes out. Can't wait until the next one!
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,027 reviews2,628 followers
September 12, 2018
It was 2017 in London when archivist Elodie Winslow discovered an old but beautiful leather satchel which, on inspection, contained a photograph of a woman in Victorian clothing, and a sketchbook with detailed artwork, including a house by a river. She had no idea why the two items felt so special to her, even making her feel like she was familiar with the house, but Elodie knew she had to find out more.

In 1862, a small group of friends, including artist and owner Edward Radcliffe, descended on Birchwood Manor for a summer of art and creativity. Edward was an artist just beginning to make his name – his muse a beautiful young woman who he declared he couldn’t paint without. But two weeks into their stay, disaster struck, and lives would be forever changed.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a novel stretched over time; told in many voices at varying times during the 150-year timeslot, there are many stories within the story and the link is always there. Concentration is needed with a lot of characters to keep track of; when a new family was introduced, I wondered who they were – until once again, their connection was shown. I feel Aussie author Kate Morton has a winner in The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and although I feel it was a little long, it's an exceptional read. A thoroughly entertaining novel which I highly recommend.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,938 reviews722 followers
November 19, 2018
For those of us who have loved Kate Morton’s books this one is a treat to behold. She is back mesmerizing us and making us feel ever so present in the pages, the characters, and the places she writes of.

Edward Radcliff is an artist who spies a beautiful red haired woman and falls for her as both the woman he eventually loves and as his muse. Her name is Birdie Bell and she has had a sad and somewhat checkered past but she inspires Edward and as they venture to his home Birchwood Manor, we venture into a house that hold many secrets and lives within its history. It is a house spun by dreams, haunted by memories, propelled by expectancy.

Years later, Elodie Winslow, an archivist, and while researching James Stratton, finds a leather bag which contains both a sketchbook with a drawing of a home near a river, plus the photograph of a Victorian woman. These two things begin to haunt Elodie as she feels a connection to this home. Elodie is driven to explore, find, and discover what it is that makes this house, this drawing, become a part of her own personal story.

Told through many different narratives, Kate Morton is able to weave a story of love, of murder, and the fates that awaited both Edward and Birdie in a house that seemed to hold mystery and haunting. Making the house and what it knows and holds within its walls a central focus of this story gives the book an enigmatic, mystical feel bringing together the lives of the people who once lived there and those people who presently come to know this home. Written as a lyrical mesmerizing tale, Kate Morton is able to bring together a well written mystifying tale that entraps the reader into a world where suspense, expectancy, and magic prevail.

“I wanted you to see what a balm love is. What it is to share one��s life, to really share it, so that very little matters outside the certainty of its walls. Because the world is very noisy, Elodie, and although life is filled with joy and wonder, there’s evil and sorrow and injustice, too.”
Thanks go out to my local library for providing me with a copy of this book.
My reviews can also be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books291 followers
September 14, 2018
4 and a half stars
This story of Birchwood Manor and events that happen there is told by several narrators. It comes to the attention of archivist Elodie Winslow, when she finds a leather satchel. Inside are two items that at first appear unrelated. One is a sepia photograph of a woman in Victorian clothing. The other is an artist’s sketchbook that contains a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. It seems familiar somehow to Elodie and reminds her of a story her mother told her as a child. But who is the stunning woman in the photo and what does she have to do with the house and the artist? As the different voices tell their story, the truth gradually emerges. And the reader gets to hear the voice of Birdie Bell who saw the dramatic events unfold.
I was so looking forward to reading this book as I have enjoyed other Kate Morton books. I was lucky enough to win an uncorrected proof copy from the publisher. My thanks go to Allen&Unwin. Almost as soon as it arrived, I put aside other books piled up on the coffee table to start this one. I was not disappointed. I started in without reading the blurb or the author’s note at the front, as I wanted to go into it without knowing too much of the story beforehand. I’d suggest this may be the best way to read it. At over 600 pages it is quite a long read, but it didn’t bother me as there was enough happening to keep my interest.
Usually I am not too keen on books with ghosts and spirits etc. but this book, with its voice outside of time, got me in. I found the characters interesting, descriptions beautiful and the mystery of what really happened kept me turning pages. At times it was a little unsettling as it switched narrators and time frames regularly, but I was never bored. It always piqued my interest enough to keep reading. An entertaining read that captures the imagination and should delight those who like historical novels, mysteries about an old house and a precious heirloom, and especially Kate Morton fans.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,127 reviews605 followers
February 25, 2019
As with many of Kate Morton's books, this novel revolves around a house. In this case a large, sprawling Elizabethan house, Birchwood Manor, on a bend of the Thames river in Gloucestershire. The house had seen many things since it was built in the 16th century, but it was events of the summer of 1862 that are crucial to this story. It was then that a talented pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Radcliffe bought the house and invited his artist friends and their models to spend the summer there. And it was then that his fiance was shot and killed, a family heirloom necklace was stolen and his muse and lover Lily Millington disappeared. Distraught, Edward never painted again and died a lonely death with neither Lily nor the necklace seen again in his lifetime.

This is a multi layered story told over several eras. The narrator is a ghost who has seen many inhabitants come and go and knows what happened that summer. In 2017, archivist Elodie Winslow is curious when she unpacks a box containing a leather satchel and an artist's sketchbook as well as an old photograph of a beautiful woman. In the sketchbook she sees a drawing of a large country house that strongly reminds her of a family story told to her when young. Her quest to discover the owner of the sketchbook and the identity of the young woman will eventually lead her to uncover unexpected secrets and mysteries.

This is quite a long book but I enjoyed the flow and pace of it as the story slowly reveals itself and the house gives up its mysteries. Reading Kate Morton's books is like having a bedtime story read to you as a child. You know all will end up well and you just have to settle back and enjoy the ride. Although there are many characters, it just takes a little perseverance and patience for it to all come together. Not a book to be read quickly but one to savour and enjoy in your favourite reading chair.

With many thanks to Allen and Unwin for a copy of the book to read.
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,360 reviews352 followers
July 15, 2020

1862. Artists. Summer house. Mystery.
2017. Clues. Modern girl trying to solve mystery.

Actual story:
Multiple timelines, multiple mysteries, secrets, intrigues, family, love, heartbreak, ghosts.

This book just offers so much and it was such a fascinating trip unravelling it all.

I loved that it was divided across time, and what an experience trying to put all the pieces together to see how they fit. There are some great characters - obviously some I liked more than others - and hearing the individual stories makes this book stand out.

It's a little haphazard in the way the timelines are explored, which did my head in a little bit, particularly towards the end when I was trying to figure out how it all came together. I still feel like there's some pieces that haven't clicked for me yet but I'm sure the answers will be there when I stop to think about it. I can't decide if I would have preferred the different stories chronologically or if it was more exciting reading the timeline all over the place.

I loved the exploration of different family dynamics throughout, and particularly enjoyed the relationship between Edward and Lucy. The title is a little misleading, I think, as clocks play such a minor role, but the suggested familial relationship does, I think, allude to the many incarnations of 'family' which was quite a fun topic to explore, and one that permeates throughout.

I'm a big fan of ghosts, too, so I enjoyed the way this book dealt with that topic. There's no cheap thrills - it's a sobering take on the notion of the soul and what may happen to it. I found this interpretation to be quite beautiful, if a little melancholy.

I have been hanging out to read this book since I first read the summary and I'm pleased to say it didn't disappoint. I was a little frustrated with the slow start of the first hundred or so pages but after that it really gathered momentum and held onto me nice and tight.

Highly recommend for lovers of historical fiction, mystery and just great, interwoven stories that make you think.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC
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