The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel written by Kate Morton. The story is about a group of young artists who in 1862 spent a few weeks in Birchwood Manor. By the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared. Over a hundrer years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London comes across a leather bag that contains two objects: an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a house and the photograph of a woman. Why does all of this seem so familiar to Elodie? And who is the woman in the photograph?
It’s the fourth novel I read by Kate Morton. They all follow a similar pattern: a mysterious death or disappearance that occurred decades (or centuries) ago will try to be resolved by a character from the present. And there’s always a tinge of romance.
There was a real ghost and some supernatural elements involved in this story. I felt it would’ve been a great opportunity to experiment with some magic realism. But there wasn’t much detail on these elements, which upset me a bit.
So I’ll just be honest, it wasn’t my favorite book by the author. Perhaps it was because I’m familiar with her style, or maybe it was due to the number of characters and storylines that added unnecessary complexity. There were many mini-stories within the main plot, some ended up diverting too much and were left inconclusive which made me wonder what was the poing of including them in the first place. So I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
I didn’t want to stop midway so I finished it regardless. I was too curious to see how it would end. I was indeed surprised by how some of the events unfurled. But some didn’t feel realistic — and that’s the whole point of historical fiction after all, right?
I still believe Kate Morton is a wonderful writer, The Forgotten Garden will always be one of my favorites. Just perhaps this book didn’t turn out the way she intended, or maybe it wasn’t for me.
Overall rating: 3 / 5