#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022
My day seven #bookvent selection is one that is perhaps a little outside of my typical genre, but by an author whose work I’d always wanted to read, so with a blurb this enticing, how could I resist? A beautifully dark mystery with a truly gothic edge, it takes us right to the heart of the Royal court in eighteenth century Paris. Sometimes shocking and heartbreaking, and with a protagonist who shows us the real strength and determination of women in a society who underestimate their worth, my seventh pick is …
The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola
In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.
Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.
For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.
And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…
A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.
My, my, my – what a book. from the very first page I got the feeling I was in for a treat and I was not wrong. In The Clockwork Girl, Anna Mazzola introduces us to Madeleine, a young girl who is made to work as a chambermaid to a local clockmakers daughter. I say made, as she is forced into the job by her unscrupulous mother, a local madame, and another party who wants Madeleine to feed back on her new master and to let them know what happens behind the doors of Dr Maximilian Reinhart’s house. Reinhart is no ordinary clockmaker, and his ‘experiments’ make him of great interest to those in power in Paris. The book is dark in tone and rich in atmosphere, with an undulating sense of unease that flows from first page to last. There are mysteries at the heart of the book, and things which make Reinhart appear to be of very dubious character and sees the threat level, particularly the level of danger that Madeleine and her mistress are in, reach such heights that I could literally feel my pulse pounding. I loved the author’s use of language, the beautiful way in which she recreated the feeling of Paris, the dichotomy between the affluent and life on the streets as seen through Madeleine’s eyes. The fear that flows through the community as the story unfolds adds an edginess to the story, whilst the secrets that are slowly uncovered left me reeling, and kept me absolutely glued to the page.
Corruption, murder, and a touch of scientific sleight of hand make this a truly compelling read.
You can read my full review here.
Happy #bookvent reading all