Kate Morton’s book ‘The clockmaker’s daughter’ is something of a door stopper – and the considered view was that she could have cut down on a few of the strands of her story without losing the essential plot – there are multiple characters across multiple time strands all drawn to Birchwood Manor, the house at the centre of the tale. The book crosses genres – part mystery, part ghost story, part historical. The writing is elegant – it is an easy read, but the continual jumps made it difficult to connect with the characters many of whom felt undeveloped and whose storylines petered out. We had a man recovering from his experiences of WW1 and a family displaced from London in WW2, a present day archivist, bohemian artists, London pickpockets and many more.
It took a good third of the novel to really get into it and the consensus was that the ending didn’t quite hang together. Morton had added a lot of interesting but tangential information about science with hints of the leaps to come in the way we view time and space whilst also incorporating more supernatural elements and oral storytelling.
The house, a lovely English manor house in the upper Thames Valley felt like a mellow and welcoming place – an oasis for most of those who passed through it despite the events that are hinted at throughout the story.