Also by this author: The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper, The Lake House
Published by Atria Books on October 9, 2018
Genres/Lists: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
If there’s one word that comes to mind when I read a Kate Morton book, it’s cozy. It’s so easy to curl up and let her stories wrap around you and provide shelter from what’s going on in the world. They’re always so intricate, precariously balancing past and present until they collide in the most unexpected ways.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter was no different, but this one took more time than usual to get into. It took, to be precise, just over 100 pages, which is a rarity for me with a Morton novel. Perhaps this is because I didn’t bother to read the synopsis (she has never disappointed me), and so I was unprepared for the shift in writing formula that I had become accustomed to. Even so, there was never a time when I wanted to put it down because I knew in my heart that I would come to love it.
It’s hard to summarize a novel as complex as this one, particularly because some characters, such as Elodie from present day, are mostly vehicles for the larger story, which comprised of Lily and Edward, so I’ll share this snippet from the book instead:
As I said, there’s a lot going on. And as always, Morton’s descriptions are rich and tactile: I could hear the rustle of the leaves and feel the crisp summer air just as she described it. Even so, the story fell flatter than expected. I don’t have anything negative to say, but rather the author took a stylistic leap that didn’t resonate with me. I have no doubt others will disagree, for the book is still a lyrical and literary work to be reckoned with, but it left me feeling underwhelmed.
As for the stylistic leap I’m referring to, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is different in that, rather than bridging past and present with a tangible object or specific person, it is done through multiple layers and characters – some of this planet, others not so much. This, in itself, was a bit challenging to get used to, for the delineations between storylines weren’t as obvious as I would have expected. The characters themselves were strong, but the threads weaving together the generations were weak. This weakness didn’t unravel the story, but it did make it more difficult for me to connect with the characters.
With all that said, I’m looking forward to Morton’s next book. I have never finished one of her books wishing I hadn’t read it, and even though this one left me underwhelmed, it still shines brighter than many other books I’ve read. If you’re a Kate Morton fan, I recommend reading it, but if you’re new to her, I’d recommend starting elsewhere.
Recommended for: Kate Morton fans and those who are intrigued by a leap of faith into a new style.