The Clockmaker’s Wife by Daisy Wood, Sophie Bentinck (Narrator)
Published July 2021 by Avon
11 hours and 33 minutes
About the Book: The world is at war. And time is running out…
London, 1940. Britain is gripped by the terror of the Blitz, forcing Nell Spelman to flee the capital with her young daughter – leaving behind her husband, Arthur, the clockmaker who keeps Big Ben chiming.
When Arthur disappears, Nell is desperate to find him. But her search will lead her into far darker places than she ever imagined…
New York, Present Day. When Ellie discovers a beautiful watch that had once belonged to a grandmother she never knew, she becomes determined to find out what happened to her. But as she pieces together the fragments of her grandmother’s life, she begins to wonder if the past is better left forgotten…
A powerful and unforgettable tale of fierce love, impossible choices and a moment that changes the world forever, perfect for fans of Fiona Valpy and Suzanne Kelman.
This was a very interesting Historical Fiction Story. I enjoy reading about people or places that I am not familiar with, or that is not written about often, and The Clockmaker’s Wife certainly fit the bill. This is a dual timeline story, but it was basically set in London, 1940. The Present Day, New York story gave some impetus to why the story was being told as well as to show what happened to the characters after the war ended. Although this is not a true story, it is based upon events that did occur and plans and plots that were in place.
It is 1940 and the Spellman family lives in London. Arthur, a German because his parents were born in Germany, English by birth, is one of the three men who keep Big Ben chiming. His wife, Nell and daughter leave London to live in the countryside, until Nell receives a phone call that Arthur has been arrested, he has been accused of being a Facist. She leaves her daughter and heads to London to help Arthur. What happens next makes this a gripping and interesting story. In present day New York, Ellie finds a beautiful watch that belonged to her grandmother, a woman she never met. She decides to find out what happened to her and learn about her ancestors. Her mother, Alice, is in a nursing home and is losing her memory, so this may be her last opportunity to find out about her grandmother. As she begins her search, she finds things that lead her to believe that perhaps she was a traitor. This can’t be, so she keeps digging to find the true story.
I really enjoyed this story. I had no idea that Big Ben actually played a part in the defense of Europe. I really liked Nell’s character. Her love for her husband surpassed everything and she was willing to risk her life to save him. As plots and secrets become known to her, she has to decide what she is willing to do for her country as well. The Clockmaker’s Wife is a very unique historical fiction story. I really enjoyed reading about the clocks and famous London landmarks. Daisy Wood explains how Big Ben chiming was a symbol of hope and togetherness. She explores part of the Blitz that I had not been aware of and I think the portrayal of a bombed London was very descriptive. I enjoyed her writing style and was drawn in by the plot quickly. This story brought to light the hidden Fascist groups in London: supporters of Hitler’s regime who would happily support Nazi occupation. This was one of the key themes of the book. The other themes mentioned in the synopsis include fierce love, impossible choices and a moment that changes the world forever. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Sophie Bentinck. She does an amazing job with this story, becoming the characters in my mind. Her voice had a lot of emotion, pitch and perfect pacing. Another new narrator to me and one that I will watch for. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Daisy Wood worked in publishing for some years before leaving to concentrate on her own writing. She has had several children’s books published, both historical and contemporary, and is happiest rooting about in the London Library on the pretext of research. She lives in south London and when not locked away in her study can be seen in various city parks, running after a rescue Pointer with a Basset Hound in tow.