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Locus Amoenus: All By My Shelf

Watch the amazing Locus juggle several books at once, and try not to drop any! Free admission.

Professional Reader

Currently reading

One Corpse Too Many (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 2)
Ellis Peters
Progress: 20%
Shameless: A Sexual Reformation
Nadia Bolz-Weber
House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski

Final Thoughts: The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker’s Daughter - Kate Morton

This was for my Ghost Story bingo square.


There's a lot a liked about this book. Its central theme is time, and how stories persist or change over time. In that sense, I liked that it covered a lot of ground (from the 1860s to the present) and that the ending was left so open: things don't end neatly wrapped up. We're left with new discoveries, but what the characters will do with those remains to be seen.


However, the sprawling nature of the novel also works against it. I felt throughout that it could have used a bit of editing to tighten up some sections (I'm thinking especially of Ada's childhood in India: it was beautifully written, but quite a detour). There were so many characters and side stories (even though they were all related to each other) that I would often forget who certain people were, or why they were important. It diluted the central story - that of Birdie's tragic life and death - when it could have been so much more powerful. I also wasn't crazy about the framing story (Elodie's); I just didn't find her that interesting, and her final discovery of the buried box felt very deus ex machina.


And speaking of Birdie, our resident ghost, I never understood how she knew so much about modern technology. Her visitors are few and far between over the years, and yet she's well acquainted with the ins and outs of mobile phones and emails.


But the story did keep me hooked, so I can definitely recommend it.