The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review

Book review by Dinh.

3.5 Stars

Read synopsis here.


I was very excited to read The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton for our monthly read. I haven’t read any of her books before and was keen to discover a new author to love.

From the book jacket’s description it seemed like a read I would totally love- one with ghosts, murder and mystery.

But did it meet my expectations? Sad to say, but it did not wow me. I enjoyed the book but it was all over the place.

Story Line

The bones of the story was good.

We meet Elodie Winslow an archivist, who discovers an old leather satchel with a photo of a Victorian woman and a sketchbook with a drawing of a house on a bendy river. The house reminds Elodie of a story her mother had told her. Elodie is drawn to the house and wants to discover the mystery of who the woman was and why she is drawn to the house.

The story line also has a murder, and a dazzling heirloom, the Radcliffe Blue which goes missing.

The story is set in England in 1860s to present day, 2017.

The book was part a historical fiction, mystery and a love story entwined.

Find Kate Morton: Website|Facebook|Instagram

Authors Style

First off, I have praise Morton’s for her writing. This is the first book I’ve read by her and I think she is an excellent writer!

Whilst the writing was excellent, it was not enough to pull me into the story.

I enjoyed the book but felt that the pace of the story was slow. As with most of my monthly read, I read the book as well as listened to it, but I still found I wasn’t drawn in.

The main off putting thing about this book was that there were too many characters to follow and too many narratives to keep track of. Everyone that was in Elodie or Birdie’s life got their backstory told. That was over the top in my opinion.

It got confusing trying to figure out the time line and the characters. Do we really need the point of view of the satchel? I thought that was ridiculous!

I felt that the author wove a story with way too many elements!

I didn’t read the book in one go so after putting it down several times, I had to go back a bit to remember what was going on and who was who. It was a book I felt that I had to write notes on to stay on top of what was going on. Writing notes just takes away from my reading enjoyment so I skip that usually.

Moreover, the murder and missing Radcliffe Blue on the back cover made me think that it was going to be suspenseful and mysterious but it didn’t happen that way. I felt duped!


I did enjoy the characters and the supporting characters stories as a standalone.

I did like some of the side character’s story, particularly Mrs. Berry the landlady, but felt that it too began to distract from the main plot.

  • Elodie Winslow

I liked Elodie’s story and at the beginning I was wondering where her story tied into the main story.

Elodie was daughter of Lauren Adler, a famous musician. Her mother died and she was raised by her dad whom she was very close to.

Elodie was an archivist. She discovered the leather satchel with a photo and a sketch book and started to research it.

  • Birdie/ Lily Millington

I loved Birdie’s story and wished that we knew more about her, particularly her relationship with her only friend Pale Joe.

Lily Millington or Birdie as her friends know her became an orphan at the age of seven. Lily believed that her father had left for America and would send for her when he was able. She was sent to live with Mrs. Mack in Seven Dials, Covent Garden.

Lily was raised by Mrs. Mack who was a scam artist. She made work Lily as a thief. Lily was smart enough to get by and keep Mrs. Mack happy.


I did like the ending because it did come together. The puzzle was solved. We did find out who got murdered and why, and how it happened.

I liked that we found out who Lily Millington/Birdie was. We found out her real name and where she came from.

I also loved that we found out what became of Plain Joe. I would have loved to have known more about him though.

I was happy that the end of the book came together and we saw the whole puzzle!

I gave this book 3.5 stars out of 5 because I enjoyed the writing and it had closure at the end.

My Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton, although I would not say it was a compelling read. The writing is great but there were to many side stories to distract the reader from the meat of the story.

Because of the many characters and side stories the book felt like it was all over the place. There were too many characters with their stories that I lost the plot.

Overall, the plot was good and the writing great but this was a slow reveal story so be prepared.

Get your copy here. Or listen to the audio book for free with an Audible trial.

Belong to a book club? Check out The Clockmaker’s Daughter book club discussion questions.

8 thoughts on “The Clockmaker’s Daughter Book Review

  1. It sounds like the core of the story is good – the idea and how the plot wraps up in the end. And we even have good writing too! It’s just a shame that the characters and points of view get a bit messy by there being too many of them and not connecting enough with them either. :/

    1. Hi Olivia,
      I do think the author has talent but it just didn’t work out in this book for what she was trying to achieve.
      I will give her other books try though even though this one disappointed me.

  2. I missed this one for some reason. But apparently it wasn’t that good. So what’s next on the list Dinh? I’m ready for a new book!

    1. Hi Kristine,
      We are not doing this month read because I will be away starting next week. We will be back with The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian for our January 2020 monthly read.

      Hope you have a merry Christmas! 🙂

    1. Hi Alicia!
      I think lots of reviewers thought that it was just over the top to have side stories for all the people mentioned. I would have preferred a deeper development of the main characters. I did enjoy Kate Morton’s style of writing though. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by at Arlene’s Book Club!

    1. Hi Erica!
      Yeah it’s a shame The Clockmaker’s Daugther wasn’t what I expected but I did enjoy her writing and will give her books another try. She has so many best sellers out so I think I will start with The Forgotten Garden and take it from there.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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