Kate Morton is one of my favourite writers. Every time I finish one of her books, I'm sure it's the best one yet. And it is, until the next one comes along. The Clockmaker's Daughter is her latest - and yes, it's the best one yet!
Morton again employs all the elements that are hallmarks of her work. Past and present narratives, houses, their history, love lost, love found, an element of other otherworldliness this time and so much more.
"My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows."
Summer 1862. A group of artists and friends plan to spend a month at Edward Radcliffe's new home, Birchwood Manor. But before the month is out, one of them will be dead, a priceless heirloom is missing and Edward's life will never the same. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie, a young archivist, uncovers photographs that seem somehow familiar to her....
"The woman in the white gloves unlatched the dull silver buckle and the satchel held its breath. Open me, open me, open me....She pushed back its leather strap and for the first time in over a century light swept into the satchel's dark corners."
The past has always fascinated me, bits of history and lore woven into family stories. Pictures of those now gone, houses now emptied. What is their story? I was immediately drawn to Elodie and couldn't wait to discover and uncover what happened in the past at Birchwood and why she seems to know the house. But it's not only Elodie we hear from. The past is unfolded from many different, yet intertwined viewpoints and time frames. Each and every one of those characters are so very well drawn. All of them have a connection to Birchwood Manor and feel inexplicably drawn to the house.
"Edward used to say that the river possessed a primeval memory of everything that had ever happened. It occurs to me that this house is like that, too. It remembers, just as I do. It remembers everything." It is this voice that I found the most poignant - the voice in the house. (No spoilers, so not saying another word about this.)
Kate Morton's descriptions are so wonderful. The house sprang alive for me - I could feel the warm spot on the turn of the stairs, smell the flowers in the garden, envision myself under a shady tree listening to the sound of the river going by.
I started reading slower as I realized I was reaching the end. I knew what was coming and I just didn't want to face it. But I wanted to see how all of those threads and lives would weave together.
My review doesn't do this book justice. But suffice it to say that I loved it. Absolutely, positively recommended. Pick up a copy for snowy nights reading. Read an excerpt of The Clockmaker's Daughter.
"Each clock is unique, he used to tell me. And just like a person, its face, whether plain or pretty, is but a mask for the intricate mechanism it concealed."