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I really enjoyed this book. It is complicated as it changes time and point of view multiple times through the story, so you need to be on your toes. Interesting premise.
I got to Chapter 3, at 12:45 am, page 61 and I just couldn’t do it anymore. The jacket made it sound a lot more interesting but frankly, I had a hard time getting into it. I give up. Maybe some time in the distant future.
The story wa s way too long and convoluted. The narrative became tedious with an unsatisfactory ending. Th e author is as good writer, this was too dense a book.
Very disappointed in this book.
First book ever that I couldn't wait to get over with it.
This was a terrific ghost story. I don't usually read novels about the paranormal but this was very well done. It reminded me of Lovely Bones a bit. It also has suspense and mystery. It's a bit complicated in its multigenerational plot line but well worth reading.
Kate Morton is a fabulous writer - her most recent novel re-establishes this once more. This books is a page turner taking you into another world with twists and turns, drawing you into her fabulous characters and keeping you guessing until the very end! A very worthwhile read!
3 stars. I love Kate Mortons' books and really looked forward to reading this one, but found it a really tough slog to get through it. I really wanted to love this book but I found it very confusing. Too many characters, too difficult to figure out who was speaking at different times, too convoluted. I read it right to the end and still don't know who shot Edward's fiancee or why...did I miss something somewhere? There were chapters that were lovely and lyrical and I'd think that I was getting a grasp on what was going on and then I'd turn the page and it was like I was reading a different book by a different author. I gave this book 3 stars because I love the author and because of the chapters that I enjoyed. I wish I could have given a better review.
I loved this book - going through different time periods and just when you think you have figured it all out...you haven't! I hope she will have a sequel
I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's writing. She has such a lovely command of the English language that you simply cannot read the paragraphs quickly or you miss the wonderful phrases and descriptions. I will however admit to dragging once I got to the middle of this very long story. I found I had to flip back to the front of the story to re-acquaint myself with a character as the chapters switch between different characters and time frames that all centre around Birchwood Manor. For those familiar with Ms. Morton's other novels, this story also revolves around London after the wars and the secrets held within a home. I loved how the story tied up the mysteries with childlike innocence but think I need to re-read to catch some of the loose threads that I missed.
I'm about 100 pages into this book and I came to the feedback page to see if it's just me or if others are finding this novel tedious. It should be noted that Kate Morton is, hands down, one of my favorite authors. I'd pick up anything off of hers off the shelf in any bookstore without even reading the description on the back. But this one! I don't even know who I am reading half the time: the gal in 2017 or the other one in the 1800's. I don't have an inkling of the plot or storyline. I was a little stunned when I was 456 in line for this book back in November and then got it on February 28. Now I think I understand what happened; most likely like me, readers closed it and returned it to the library. So for the 482 people on the wait list, no worries. - This book is a combo of the 1944 movie "Laura", "Oliver Twist", and the "Ghost and Mrs. Muir".
I gave up half way through the book. Very dry and just could not get into it.
Unfortunately, this novel is over-written. There is no need to weave so many threads over so many years to tell a story. It is even unclear what the story really is... Granted, all the threads are nicely tied up before the end. And, the author opens and closes the novel with the same character (who appears to find a new love - no one cares at that point), but that is not exactly a rewarding end; it is anti-climactic, a denouement. What is disappointing is the climax; the artist's young muse was left behind accidentally and died in the priest hole. It appears as if the author decided that the death in the priest hole was the main point of the story and then constructed an elaborate number of reasons leading to and from that specific moment. This reminds one of "Sarah's Key", which also depicts a very sad, similar ending for one character who was hiding in a closet, locked-in to stay safe. Overall, the impression of "Clockmaker's Daughter" is of an author who has no pivotal story to tell, but appears to be inspired by plot lines and devices of other authors. "The Paris Apartment" is also a tale of discovery, but is a more believable and warmer tale. Enjoyed the Forgotten Garden, but that, after all, is very closely based on someone else's very real story. Did like the majority of her previous novels.
This book was much less enjoyable than The Forgotten Garden. The plot in this book is super-complicated to begin with; then, to compound the problem, Kate Morton seems to be in love with her own prose - - - elegant as it is------, and goes on and on and on with her descriptions of EVERYTHING, philosophy of painting, philosophy of life, etc etc. I think Ms Morton should have handed her story outline to someone like Kate Quinn, (author of The Alice Network), who could have told the story in half the number of pages! Unfortunately, to have some crucial mysteries solved, I needed to finish this marathon read, but it's never a good sign when you really would PREFER to be reading that next great book you have just signed out!!! Unless you have lots of time to waste, don't read this one!!
I read this for the "The First Book You See In A Bookstore/Library" part of my 2019 reading challenge. I didn't love it, I found 3/4 of it really slow and I had trouble following the different characters and their relationships with the time periods changing mid chapter. The mystery had potential and the end of the book moved faster, but I still wasn't happy with it.
Kate Morton once again brings us a work of historical fiction spanning decades with a series of interlinking stories. The story is well-written but I found the book overly long and the pacing slower than her other books. It may not be a page-turner but it's great to curl up with a cold winter's day with a cup of hot tea.
Just finished this very long book. It had too many characters, interacting in too many different time frames, in no discernable chronological order, narrated by a ghost. I wouldn't bother with it, if I were you. I'm sure you must have books on your reading list which you would find more enjoyable and much less confusing.
I have loved all of Kate Mortons book especially House at Riverton. I wanted to really like it but eventually gave up on the book about halfway through. The plot was winding and too much jumping around. Disappointing read.
There are books that are page-turners, that leave you gasping for air, that keep you up until 3 am because you just have to know what happens next. Then there are leisurely books like The Clockmaker's Daughter that are best taken in small but regular doses and comfortably ruminated upon at your leisure, and well after you finish. This is a book that sticks.
At the center of the novel is a twin-gabled, eight-chimney house in the Berkshire countryside. Morton takes us back and forth through time as different people interact with the house, and its longest resident, the clockmaker's daughter. In its ruminations on loss and guilt, I found myself drawing comparisons to Atonement, except no one here runs from their responsibility, instead people are drawn together across generations by their shared feelings.
After WWI, a returning soldier stays at the home and considers the death of his brother, along with the thousands of others lost in the war: "He had never stood at the end of his own brother's grave. He hadn't seen the point; he knew Tom wasn't there. Where was he? Leonard wondered. Where had they all gone? It seemed impossible that it could all just end like that. Impossible that so many young men's hopes and dreams and bodies could be buried in the earth and the earth remain unchanged. Such an almighty transfer of energy and matter must surely have affected the world's balance at an essential - an elemental - level: all of those people who had once been, suddenly gone."
Morton explores loss on large and small scale, and its ability to tie people together, but there is so much more to it than that. She also does an excellent job of slowly revealing the mystery of our primary narrator, and creating mini-mysteries along the way. Enchanting, and thought-provoking, The Clockmaker's Daughter feels like a new classic.
Great prose, wonderful saga, but difficult structure
PLOT OR PREMISE:
A house in the country has some hidden secrets as do some of the people who visit the house throughout 150 years of history.
WHAT I LIKED:
The overall story is awesome, despite some accessibility challenges with the structure (see below). You get to see pieces of the long story in the 1850s with one character as a young girl and another as a young boy; period two is an outing a number of years later when a bunch of artists descend on the house for a seminal event in their history; later occupation of the house by a woman who runs a girls school there; transformation of the house into a museum much later, to honour one of the artists from the fateful summer; occupation of the house by a young family during WWII; a visit to the house by a man and a woman years later; and finally a visit by an archivist in the present day, trying to find out some of the history from those various periods. She has some of the clues about the various timeframes and is trying to piece together more information about the fateful summer.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
I didn't like the constant jumping around in time and point of view, which is the structural problem I mentioned above. There are at least seven separate timeframes for the house, and even a couple more in there that are alluded to through reminiscing, but some of the timeframes are not indicated very precisely. You kind of have to figure a couple out as you go. In addition, while the author is a master of lyrical prose, you know some of the story is going to be a bit weird when early on you see an event from the point of view of a satchel that is being opened. Yes, the actual satchel, as if it is alive. It is not the only fantastical element in the book, but the rest would be too much of a spoiler to reveal. A bigger problem I had was that in one timejump, the new PoV is in the head of a woman who has a name VERY similar to that of another character; so much so that I was ten pages into the section before I realized that it wasn't the woman I thought it was, and the timeframe was VERY different as a result. I often read books that have timeline issues that are way more complex than here, but even I had trouble following some of the hops. I also found part of the ending left things a bit hard to understand with one person acting very out of character and the final piece being a bit open-ended.
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media.
Kate Morton's best book yet. If you are put off by other reviews, begin this book by reading the very last page, the author's note. She writes 2 paragraphs about the themes she explores in the novel; yes this book is character-driven (and I loved the characters!), but the themes are what binds them together and brings sense and richness to each one.
I love this book, couldn't put it down. Each time the story flow changed to focus on a different character, I was bummed because I wanted to hear more about the current character I was on; then I would be drawn in all over again to the newly introduced character, and the pattern would repeat until they all wove together in a fascinating way.
Kate Morton is an amazing writer who requires a lot from her readers. I feel more intelligent after reading her works.
Historical/present day mystery at Birchwood Manor.
Elodie is getting married! But is she as excited as she should be? Through her work as an archivist, she stumbles upon a mysterious satchel containing a sketchbook and photograph. Perhaps as a way to procrastinate on her wedding plans, Elodie dives headlong into finding out just who the young woman in the photograph actually is. Along the way, she finds information about a missing diamond, a murder, a disappearance, an unexplained fall from grace and unexpected connections to her own family.
Characters from different periods tease answers to the central questions of the book...who killed Radcliffe’s fiance in the robbery, what did Radcliffe’s muse have to do with the theft, and just where is the famous Radcliffe blue diamond now?
Pros: Expansive, descriptive, lovely writing.
Cons: Way too long, and the characters just didn’t seem to connect enough for my liking. I enjoy a book that jumps around with its’ timelines, but this one was all over the place and it would take me awhile to figure out what the featured character had to do with the story, other than also being associated with Birchwood Manor.
I LOVE Kate Morton’s books, especially the House at Riverton, but I think this one just got away from her.
I always enjoy Kate Morton's writing - her characters are both interesting and sympathetic and her attention to historical detail is unparalleled. The shifting perspectives and timelines in this novel could get a bit disorienting, but it underscored the point she was trying to make - that time is fluid and ever-shifting.
Morton does a great job of introducing a modern character and creating a story in which the past is just as important. I loved the fact that Elodie has what could be construed as a boring job, that of archivist. But yet as every history buff, knows, tracing the history of something from the past can be fascinating. Morton melds the story of a modern young woman with that of a Victorian painter very well.