My father called me Birdie;
he said I was his little bird. Others
knew me as his child, the clockmaker's
daughter. Edward called me his
muse, his destiny.
My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer,
no one else knows.
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one women has been shot dead while another has disappeared, a priceless heirloom is missing, and Edward Radcliffe's life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting looking women in Victorian clothing and an artist's sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? Who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? And will she ever give up her secrets?
Intricately layered and told by multiple voices across time, this is a kaleidoscope story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a women who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker's daughter.
Elodie Winslow is an archivist she finds a sketchbook within a leather satchel and discovers a sketch of a beautiful young women and house, a house she knows well from her a childhood, a story passed down within her family from generation to generation a story she thought was just fairy tale. Elodie decides she needs to find out what is her families connection is to this house, now a museum, to try and find out who is the women within the sketchbook and was it she who pulled the trigger that left a young women dead and was it she who stole a precious heirloom, the Radcliffe Blue diamond.
I have read all Kate Morton's novels and always enjoyed her style of writing moving between the past and the present weaving her story as she goes. There are many characters all of which have a connection to Birchwood Manor. The clockmaker's daughter is written using a narrator a spirit that has never left Birchwood Manor who knows all its secrets including what happened that summer in 1862.
Unfortunately for me this was not one of Ms Morton's best novels. Normally I am gripped from the start and can't wait to be able to find time to pick up where I had left off to be able to indulge in more of the story she is setting. For me the clockmaker's daughter became a little disjointed with too many characters and the usual seamless flow moving from one time frame to another just didn't seem to happen. I loved the fact that the story was being told by a spirit locked within the house for the past 150 years, but it became a little unbelievable that a spirit would of kept up with modern technology and would know what a mobile phone was never mind a laptop and how to communicate by email.
Sadly for me not one of her best.................