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The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a rich and layered book about the malleability of time. This story jumps back and forth across several different points in time. Each character seems of equal importance, but we discover early on that the main character is the clockmaker’s daughter, Birdie. This is the story of her life and death, sometimes told by her in first person narrative and at others by the people connected to her across time. It is a story of love, loss, and the connection between people and places.
Kate Morton explores that which is impalpable—time, light, ghosts. In one scene Birdie attempts to capture light in a tin, only to discover that light (like time) is elusive. The Clockmaker’s Daughter binds together characters who have experienced loss, have their own ghosts they carry with them. Some of these characters are artists or photographers, forever trying to capture the intangible. Others have experienced the deep ache of loss and are attempting to fill it.
Ar the center of the story is a place, Birchwood Manor. Every single main character has experienced this place, and perceived it to be magical in some way. This place is what connects the characters through the threads of time.
Once these tangled threads have been worked through, Birdie’s story is complete and the confused muddle evaporates.
This is was a deeply moving, meaningful book for anyone who has experienced loss or felt an intense pull towards a particular place or person.
Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with a free galley to review.
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