Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @panmacmillan


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?

My review:

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

I’ve been a big fan of Kate Morton ever since I read The House at Riverton back in 2008. It was the beginning of a love affair that has lasted over a decade and, after reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter, I can firmly say that the relationship is still going strong. My favorite book of hers will always be The Secret Keeper because of that wonderful twist I will never be able to forget, but I’ve loved all her novels and I truly believe they all have something special. Her last one was my least favorite, perhaps because I thought the ending felt too coincidental, but it was a good story nevertheless.

I had read mixed reviews of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and I can definitely see why people didn’t love this one as much as her other books, but this is one of those times when I have to disagree with them. Even though I’m perfectly aware that this novel was a bit slow at times, I was instantly captivated, the way I’m always are when I start reading a Kate Morton’s book. And I never lost interest, in fact, I found myself increasingly more intrigued as pages flew by.

The main difference between The Clockmaker’s Daughter and most of her other books is that this novel spans many decades but it doesn’t only focus on two timelines, but instead, it narrates several moments in history. This is the tale of Birchwood Manor and its guests during more than a hundred and fifty years. We, as readers, are witnesses of the effect the house has on every inhabitant, but the main mystery revolves around Edward Radcliffe and his muse, the clockmaker’s daughter. But who exactly is Lily Millington? And what happened on that fateful summer of 1862?

The story is narrated by various points of view, but the title character was my favorite because of her unlikely situation. She takes her time telling us her story, and she also “interacts” with the two present-time characters, Elodie and Jack. Elodie has come across an old photograph of a mysterious woman and the sketch of a beautiful house she finds incredibly familiar, so she decides to investigate why her mother once told her a bedtime story set in that very same house…

Like all Kate Morton’s books, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is full of tragedy, fate encounters, and surprising revelations. This is a complex and multi-layered story that requires you to pay attention to every small detail; otherwise, you might get lost in the way. The author’s prose is delicate and beautiful as usual, and if you happen to love her evocative writing, I truly believe you will enjoy this magical puzzle as much as I did.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review


26 thoughts on “Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @panmacmillan

  1. Marta says:

    Forgotten Garden has been on my to-read list for a while. Maybe it’s time for me to kickstart an affair too? Maybe I’ll start with The House at Riverton.

    Love the new design btw!


  2. Diana says:

    First of all, I love the new look. Wow, your blog looks amazing, Annie ❤

    Glad to hear that you have continued enjoying this author's books and this was one was equally enjoyable. Fab review!


  3. B Lostinacoulee says:

    Great review, Annie! I am just starting this one. Good to know I need to pay attention to the small details. This will be my first book by Kate Morton. I do own a few.


  4. Renee (Itsbooktalk) says:

    Love your new look for the blog! I think I mentioned this one didn’t work for me, I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve tried 2 of her books now and coudn’t get into either so I have a feeling this author might not be for me:(


    • Annie says:

      Yeah, she’s not an easy one hahaha I think that I get what she tries to do and that’s why I love her but if it were another author, maybe I wouldn’t like it so much, you know?

      Thanks ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love your new blog! ❤ It really suits you. I've been thinking about redoing mine (when I can find the time and inspiration), but you've really made me want to even more, lol.

    Anyway!! Fab review! I just started this one last night…I've had no time to read today, ugh. but I liked the few chapters I did read. This is my 1st Kate Morton even though own several. The mixed reviews have had me worried, but I trust you that I'll enjoy it! ❤


      • Stephanie says:

        You’re welcome! I might when I get the initiative, lol. It takes me forever to decide on new things like that, haha!

        I tried to read it last night but fell asleep 2 pages in, so I’ve not made any progress…not the book’s fault. I was just exhausted. I’ll try again later and hope I can get some reading in!!


  6. L Lostinacoulee says:

    Fantastic review!! I am really looking forward to this one! Kate Morton is my favourite author. Glad you enjoyed this!!


  7. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Yay! Happy to hear you enjoyed this one despite it not being your favorite of Morton’s books. I was starting to get a little worried with all the mixed reviews. I’m not one to shy away from slower-paced books, especially if I know that going into the book. These days I think people don’t really appreciate books that are more of a slower burning story. Everyone wants instant gratification.

    I attended her book tour this week on the release day, and it was such an amazing experience. Kate is such a lovely person.


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