LeRoux and I with the Lynx family diamond, dahling.
A Synopsis, in brief.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter, told from several different points of view in several different points in time, is a beautiful story of how the lives of these characters are intertwined and revolves around a house. Not just any house, but Birchwood Manor, home of famous, tortured artist Edward Radcliffe. He and his crew spent the summer of 1862 in the house he’d loved since he was a teenager, and recently purchased. They were young creatives hoping to spend the summer immersed in art, culture, and nature. Everything is going pretty alright until Fanny Brown shows up uninvited. The evening ends with a tragic death, a disappearance, and the theft of a priceless family heirloom.
One hundred and fifty years later, Elodie, an archivist in London, comes across an old photo of a beautiful woman and an old sketch book tucked away in a satchel, and, unbeknownst to her, her life is about to change forever.
Artist, models, pickpockets, a murder, disappearances, drownings, archaeologist, love lost, a huge ass diamond, a school for girls, complex, intersecting story lines, the English countryside, and a timeless narrator. This book has everything I like about great storytelling. Kate Morton does a stunning job of piecing these characters and stories together. In my head, this is Kate Morton. All the time.
I don’t know how she keeps it all straight. Organization and professionalism, I suppose.
Okay, so, this story is so complex with a lot of twist and turns, so I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just hit the high points of what I liked best.
The women: This is a running theme for me, but it’s how it is. The women in this book, in many cases, are both stunning and hella smart. They had something to offer other than their looks. I know that sounds like a stupid thing to get excited about, but a lot of books are like, “She looks like like Linda Evangelista. She’s a model. Better make her vapid lest the boys feel threatened.” That’s not the case with Clockmaker’s Daughter. All the women are up to something and I like it.
Edward Radcliffe: He’s the tortured soul painter who owns Birchwood Manor. All told, we don’t spend a lot of time with Edward despite the fact that he’s a huge influence on everyone else. The time we do spend with him is enjoyable as hell. He’s smart, he’s a dope painter, and, most importanlty. he sneaks his younger sister books and emncourages to pursue an education even though that was definitely not en vogue. He’s also not threatened by smart women. I dig him. Also, it is never specifically stated, but I like to imagine he has insane Beethoven-style hair and I am super into that.
Lily Millington: Both of them. And I will leave it at that.
Birchwood Manor: Would I live in a possibly haunted estate nestled in the English countryside? You bet your butt I would. I dream of the day I, too, can be a tortured soul roaming the halls of my too big house.
Clockmaker’s Daughter is the first Kate Morton book I’ve read, but it will certainly not be my last. Check her out and, for Bobo’s sake, read this book. I have it on good authority – a librarian told me – that, while all her books are good, this is the best thus far. I can’t wait to test that idea.