When I got sent an early review copy of the new Kate Morton book I knew that I was in for a treat. You can always rely on Morton for an intelligent and interesting read.
It is the summer of 1862 when a group of bohemian artists and their friends decamp to the beautiful Birchwood Manor in the heart of rural Berkshire. Led by Edward Radcliffe the group intend to spend the month working on their paintings for an autumn exhibition. The countryside idyll is interrupted when one woman is shot dead, another goes missing completely and a valuable heirloom known as the “Radcliffe Blue” vanishes into thin air. Edward’s life is destroyed and he will never recover.
Elodie is an archivist in London working her way through some boxes that have come from the Stratton family. One of the boxes contains an expensive looking vintage leather satchel. Inside she finds a silver framed sepia photograph of a woman in unconventional Victorian clothing. Alongside the photograph is an artist’s sketch book filled with drawings of a striking house located by the side of a river. Elodie feels drawn to both the photograph and to the pictures of the house but can’t explain why. She is supposed to be planning her upcoming wedding but all of a sudden the mysterious items seem much more important.
Like Morton’s other books this one weaves in and out of a number of different timelines. The story develops through a selection of different people including the Clockmakers Daughter herself, muse of Edward and narrator for much of the tale and Lucy Radcliffe, Edwards’s sister and later owner of Birchwood Manor.
This is a stunning celebration of art and love, of theft and loss and ultimately of murder and despair. It is such a beautiful story. Each timeline is so beautifully described that you soon get a feel for which period you are in by the style of the description and the narration. The passionate and emotional muse, the educated and scientific mind of the teacher, the modern world of the archivist who throws herself into solving the mystery.At just under 600 pages The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a weighty tome but well worth the investment of your time and money.
Supplied by Net Galley and Mantle in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: Sept 20 2018. 592 pages.