Sunday, 4 November 2018

Read in October 2018

The Clockmaker's Daughter audiobook cover art

The Clockmaker's Daughter
By: Kate Morton
Audiobook narrated by: Joanne Froggatt
Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins

Kate Morton is one of my favourite authors from later years and as I had an Amazon gift card to spend as well as my monthly Audible credit, I got this new novel of hers both as Kindle and as Audible. I’m glad I did, as the construction of the novel is of the complex multi-layer kind, moving between different periods of time and different narrators; and it is definitely an advantage to be able to turn back to previous chapters sometimes. That said, once I felt I had kind of grasped the structure of the story, I really enjoyed listening to Joanne Froggatt reading it, though. (Best known perhaps as the actress who played ‘Anna Bates’ in the TV series Downton Abbey.)

The novel could be said to be a kind of ghost story; but at the same time, even though some gruesome mysteries of the past are involved, it’s not really an all dark and sinister atmosphere that dominates the book, but – as for most of us – a mix of both good and bad memories, not always easy to separate from one another – and with the dead continuing to play their part along with those living here and now.

The contemporary frame of the plot involves a young girl, Elodie, working in an archive; and a forgotten old box labelled “Contents of attic desk drawer, 1966 – unlisted”.

But rather than attempt to summarize all the plot layers, and risk spoilers, I think I’ll just give you this quote from the author’s own notes at the end of the book:

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a book about time and timelessness, truth and beauty, maps and map-making, photography, natural history, the restorative properties of walking, brotherhood ---, houses and the notion of home, rivers and the power of plce; among other things. It was inspired by art and artists including the English romantic poets, the Pre-Raphaelite painters, early photographers --- and designers --- with whom I share a passion for houses, and who drew my attention to some of the unique ways in which the buildings of the Cotswolds mimic the natural world.”

As an aside, I just have to mention that I still seem to be haunted by The White Horse of Uffington. It’s mentioned in The Clockmaker’s Daughter as well – although in this book, more in passing.

Those of you who read my post Read in September, might remember that this landmark also turned up in Lethal White by Robert Galbraith; for me coinciding with also then just having read about it in a blog post Chalk Horses and Ancient Mysteries by Jenny Woolf (including pictures).

Lethal White (A Cormoran Strike Novel Book 4) by [Galbraith, Robert]

Lethal White
by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)
4th in the series about private detective Cormoran Strike and his (female) assistant Robin.

Read on Kindle in September/October.

I think this book may be my favourite in this series so far. The previous one especially – Career of Evil – I found a bit too gruesome for my taste. I found Lethal White more of a classical detective novel, both in the type of investigations they get involved in, and in the development of the main characters. At the same time, parallells with the Harry Potter novels also come easily to mind. (That can be seen in the previous novels in this series as well, but keeps getting clearer.) In Lethal White, set against the background of London hosting the Olympic Games, Cormoran and Robin get involved in two cases which turn out to have some common ingredients.  One involves a mentally unstable man saying he keeps having flashbacks of having witnessed a murder back in his childhood; the other starts out as a case of blackmail against a government minister (but develops to events even more serious). This also places Robin for a while working undercover as an intern in the Houses of Parliament. (The underground Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter world comes to mind, even if Robin does not have access to Polyjuice for disguise). It’s a long book with quite a lot of sidetracks. There are also some developments in both the main characters’ personal lives going on in the background. Not all easy to keep up with all the twists and turns and details in the plot, but I quite enjoyed it.

The Blackhouse audiobook cover art  The Lewis Man audiobook cover art  The Chessmen audiobook cover art

In October I also re-read Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy – The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man and The Chess Men – this time as audio books. I first read them on Kindle back in 2012-13; but enjoyed listening to them now – read by Peter Forbes, in what I presume to be proper Scottish accent with the correct pronunciation of names etc. ;-)


  1. The Clockmaker's Daughter seems perfect to me! I may just have to get it! Maybe the library will have it, too.

    1. Ginny, I liked it a lot and I'm thinking you might like it too. It's recently published (in September) and she's a popular author. I'm guessing your library may well have it but there might be a queue... (?) If you do read it I'd be interested to know what you think of it.

  2. I wrote down the authors and will check them out.

    1. Sandra, I'm thinking you might like to try one of Peter May's books as they belong in the thriller genre. He has written several more besides this trilogy.

  3. I have yet to read any of J.K. Rowling's books as R. Galbraith, but they are high on my my wish list. As for Kate Morton, her books are all similar and yet very different from each other - I can't explain it any better, but I think you know what I mean. "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" is my favourite so far, but the new one you have just reviewed here sounds great, too.

    1. Meike, as I wasn't familiar with that title you mention I looked it up, and that's by Kate Atkinson, not Kate Morton. I've read a couple of others by Atkinson but found those 'difficult'. (Human Croquet, Life After Life) However, what you say about "her books are all similar and yet very different" could kind of apply to both these authors (although each in their own way!) so I'm not really sure which of them it is that you're thinking of besides that particular title. Both of them work with "layers of time" etc, but I find Morton's stories easier to follow, and more appealing to me personally.(Leaving me more satisfied than confused after having finished them!) Among Morton's earlier titles are 'The Forgotten Garden' and 'The Distant Hours'.

    2. Ah, stupid me, I've mixed up the names in my mind! I was thinking (and writing) about Kate Atkinson, and indeed the Clockmaker's Daughter sounds like something that could have been written by her.
      I did read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and liked it very much.

    3. Not stupid, Meike... An easy enough mistake to make! (And in this case, for me - leading to some reflections of comparison between the two that otherwise would never have occurred to me!)

  4. I was just going to say that I had read 'Behind the Scenes at The Museum'and that it was by Kate Atkinson. I wasn't so keen on that but I very much enjoyed her subsequent books. I didn't read The Lake House but it's a wonderful film. Obviously I'm with you on the Peter May books.

    1. Graham - Can't help laughing, because now I'm feeling lost among the titles and authors again... Kate Morton did write a novel entitled The Lake House (2015); but that book has nothing to do with the film with that name that I suspect you're referring to (2006). --- Moreover,I can't recall now what Kate Morton's Lake House novel was about. Which is odd - to myself - because all her other titles have left at least some imprint in my mind. However, my list of books read states that I did read it back in 2015 and have it both on Kindle and Audible. So I guess I'd better go back to it and refresh my memory!!!


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