Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas (which I might start calling the 12 Days of Bookmas… is it too late now?)! I’ve always been a little obsessed with ghost stories. There was just something about the idea of going camping in the woods and telling spooky stories around a fire that really appealed to me. Did that ever happen? No! So I get my kicks through books now.
And you know what? Unexpectedly, The Clockmaker’s Daughter really fulfilled that for me. I was not in the least expected to get a ghost story out of this, but boy oh boy did I ever. I received this book as an ARC from Simon & Schusters Canada, and as always I am forever grateful for the reviewing opportunity.
That is how I came to meet Pale Joe and he became my secret, just as surely as I became his.– Friendship comes from unexpected places, like through a window and chased by a police officer!
The story follows two main story lines: Elodie, who lives in modern day London and works as an archivist; and a woman supposedly called Lily Millington, from the 19th century London. Elodie stumbles upon an unarchived bag at work, and finds an intriguing diary and photograph in it. This jump starts her investigation into the woman of the photograph. Along the way we get other story lines that enrich the house that acts as the center of the story, all of which are touching and heartbreaking all at once.
What did I love about this book? Well, I have to say that I really did enjoy the various story-lines. I think this was a great technique that really developed the history of the book and fleshed out it’s connection to both Lily and Elodie. All of the subplots were really touching, and in some ways were more engaging than the main plot at some points.
I also really loved Elodie’s growth as a character. To be honest, I didn’t love her at the beginning of the book – she seemed like someone who just defers to others, not exactly unable to stand up for herself but almost not willing to, but she really grew over the novel’s timeline. By the end I think she realized that her future was up to her, and she shouldn’t basically go with the flow but should do what makes her happy and what shes comfortable with.
I am the stars in the dark when you think yourself alone.– Lily’s final remarks
I will admit that at times I felt that the story lost itself a little bit. That may be my fault though – as I was reading this on my phone, I felt it hard to engage the book and as such really struggled to get through it quickly. But while I loved the subplots, I think they really split up the main plot, and I think Elodie’s motivation was sometimes foggy. Was she searching for herself, to learn about the house, to better understand her mother? Was it all three? That’s certainly possible. But as a reader I did find it hard to distinguish at times.
I also wish she had written a little more at the end – I was almost disappointed by the ending, simple because I wanted more! What happens with Elodie and her relationships? What about Lily? I wanted to know more but it just ended. And some of the subplots could have been tied together more in my humble opinion. While the final sentences were touching, I think a nice little epilogue would have been nice. My idea: (SPOILERS AHEAD!) Lily narrates Elodie and Jack becoming custodians of the house, Lily’s ghost finally being at peace.
Either way, I did enjoy the book! I think my rating would be 3.5/5 stars!
Thats all for today ducks (happy second day of Kwanza)! We’ll see you tomorrow and in keeping with our ghost stories, I’m going to be talking about The Haunting of Hill House!