BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton [Booklist]

Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt certainly seems to be an ideal choice to narrate a labyrinthine, multigenerational mystery tied to a posh British countryside home, Birchwood Manor. “And I? I had no choice; I stayed behind,” Froggatt crisply assures Birchwood’s only permanent ghostly resident, who ends the preface.

How Birdie got there, why she stayed, what she’s seen over the last 150 years – all that requires a contemporary catalyst to provide eventual answers: London archivist Elodie Winslow. After discovering a worn leather satchel containing an old photograph and sketchbook in which she recognizes images from her late mother’s childhood stories, Elodie’s search for answers leads her to Birchwood, where Morton’s extensive cast of former residents will divulge secrets, expose betrayals, and reveal murder.

As Morton rapidly shifts decades, continents, social classes, and settings, Froggatt, alas, can’t seem to provide consistent characterizations. Birdie and Elodie, for example, are from contrasting social backgrounds and distant time periods, yet they’re too often indistinguishable. Instead, Froggatt reads, rather than performs – disappointing for some, but perhaps enjoyable enough for others.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, April 15, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2018


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