When I first saw Kate Morton’s latest bestseller, THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER, I was mesmerized. Thankfully, the prose was just as beautiful as the cover. Morton is singular in her elegant, detailed writing, and her ability to weave together generations of stories and years of love and tragedy. The book spans several centuries, and each one is vivid. Morton’s attention to detail as she creates multiple worlds that follow her characters’ lives creates a realistic setting, even as she delves into the supernatural ability of love to transcend all that we know, even life itself.
The novel follows the people who inhabit Birchwood Manor, a country estate in England. Similar to Morton’s bestseller THE LAKE HOUSE, this house has also stood witness to various stories, and becomes a character in itself. From the titular clockmaker’s daughter, Lily, to a young woman named Elodie in the present day, the house draws in those who are meant to find it, and eventually connects all of the stories to allow Elodie to solve its mysteries.
Elodie, a young woman who is less than excited about her upcoming wedding, is drawn to the house through objects she finds belonging to the artist Edward Radcliffe, who died prematurely. The artist’s mysterious work features a beautiful woman, the identity of whom remains unsolved, and whose difficult life in Victorian-era England is explored throughout the book.
Other inhabitants of the house over the course of 150 years include Lucy, Edward’s adoring younger sister, Ada, a young girl who attends the boarding school founded by Lucy, and Juliet, a journalist who is shielding her children from the London blitz while her husband is away at war. They all find their way to the house in different circumstances at different times, but are guided by the house and the presence of a mysterious woman who surfaces when they feel lost.
Of course, it’s impossible for me to summarize the events of the 496-page novel, and you’ll definitely have a better time reading the book itself. Each character is richly drawn, and his or her connection with the house feels as essential as the next character’s. They are all of the people we know in our lives, who grapple with joy and pain, and their journeys are incredible, before and after Birchwood Manor. THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER is heartbreaking, moving, and deliciously unsettling. It is a novel, like Birchwood Manor, that will withstand the test of time.