MORTON, Kate. The Clockmaker's Daughter

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      * MORTON, Kate. The Clockmaker's Daughter. 496p. Atria. Oct. 2018. Tr $28. ISBN 9781451649390. Although Lily Millington, the titular character of this novel, is a smart and compassionate ghost, she's [...]


Booklist Reviews 2018 August #1

The discovery of an old photograph leads London archivist Elodie Winslow to a house from a bedtime story told by her late mother. The house is very real, and very haunted by the ghost of Birdie, a former pickpocket and model for Edward Radcliffe—the most underappreciated member of the Magenta Brotherhood, a group of artists of the aesthetic movement—who died in drug-addled obscurity after his fiancée was shot and a family jewel stolen. Morton's (The Lake House?, 2015) fans will expect the two stories to intersect. But in her most ambitious work yet, she deftly weaves together the stories of Elodie; Birdie; Edward's sister, Lucy; a curious female student at the turn of the century; an academic in the late 1930s; a young family evacuating London during WWII; and a legend about medieval fairies. It sounds like a lot, but with Birchwood Manor, a Tudor-era home with secrets of its own, as the anchor and the missing Radcliffe Blue diamond as the chain, Morton proves once again that history is not a straight line but an intricate, infinite web. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 May #1

Archivist Elodie Winslow gets shivers when she discovers the photograph of a woman in Victorian garb with a sketchbook featuring a twin-gabled house. What's her connection to Oxfordshire's Birchwood Manor, where in 1862 Edward Radcliffe gathered young artists for a summer of creative fun that ended tragically? With the multilayered, sink-in-it appeal of Morton's numerous international best sellers.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2018 October #1

The discovery of a misplaced satchel containing a sketchbook and a Victorian-era photograph of a young woman intrigues Elodie Winslow, archivist at the London-based Stratton, Cadwell, & Co. One of the drawings of a country house viscerally takes Elodie by surprise. It's a perfect illustration of a place from a childhood fairy tale told to her by her long-deceased mother. Precise, disciplined Elodie feels compelled to break the archive's rules by taking the photo and the sketch with her to discover their secrets. Her quest to find the house and the identity of the beautiful woman as well as how this connects to her mother leads her to a group of Victorian artists and a series of tragedies on a summer's afternoon with the house bearing witness to it all. International best-selling author Morton's (The Lake House) sumptuous tale of love, loss, heartache, and hope skillfully intertwines the contemporary, historical, and phantasmagorical to create a Dickensian tale filled with lavish imagery and richly emotional characters who come alive from one generation to the next. VERDICT For fans of intricate, gothic, atmospheric novels reminiscent of Sarah Waters or Diane Setterfield. [See Prepub Alert, 4/9/18.]—Joy Gunn, Paseo Verde Lib., Henderson, NV

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 July #5

Morton (The Lake House) explores the tangled history of people and place in her outstanding, bittersweet sixth novel. In contemporary London, Elodie, a young archivist, encounters among her employer's collection a satchel, a photographic portrait, and a sketch of a country house. The sketch, in particular, arouses Elodie's professional curiosity and her memories, since it bears close resemblance to a house figuring heavily in the magical stories her late mother once told her. The trail of Elodie's research—spurred by her discovery that the sketch depicts an actual place—is woven together with tales of the house's various denizens between 1862 and the present, as well as with the voice of a spirit who haunts its walls. This specter—who remains nameless for most of the novel—is the clock maker's daughter of the title, abandoned as a young girl, trained as a pickpocket, and eventually chosen as an artist's muse, but possessing an artist's eye of her own. The novel's central mystery focuses on the circumstances of her abrupt disappearance in the 19th century, entangled with the abduction of a priceless jewel, the murder of the artist's fiancée, and the artist's personal and professional collapse. At the novel's emotional core, however, is the intersection of lives across decades, united, as the ethereal narrator suggests, by a shared experience of "loss that ties them together." In addition to love—not only romantic love but also love between parents and siblings—and loss, the stories, brilliantly told by Morton, offer musings on art, betrayal, and the ways in which real lives and real places can evolve over time into the stuff of legends. (Oct.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.