The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola

Today it’s over to Mandie who is taking a look at The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola. I loved this one, my first read by the author, and a true gothic masterpiece. You can find my thoughts here. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 03 March 2022
Publisher: Orion

About the Book

Paris, 1750.

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.

Mandie’s Thoughts

On the face of it writing a review for The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola should be really easy, but right now all I can seem to say is loved the book and you should really buy itbecause I don’t know how to put down the words that will do it justice

Thanks to her mother Madeline finds herself working as a maid for Dr Maximillian Reinhart. She thinks that her job will be easy, and it will enable her to finally escape her mother and take her nephew with her and give them a better life. For this freedom she has to spy on Reinhart and report back any suspicious activities. Added to this she starts to get close to Veronique who has recently returned from a convent to live with her father and learn his trade as a clockmaker. 

It is hard not to feel sorry for Madeline and the life she has led up to this point. You can see that spying on the family is not something she really wants to do, and it is only the thought of one day getting away that spurs her on to complete the task. There is a real struggle within her as she gets closer to members of the household. By some perverse contrast it is her past that makes her determined to get what she needs even when her life is threatened. 

As the book progresses the truth of what is happening becomes clear and the clockwork girl of the title comes in to play in a quite disturbing fashion. Even then there is more to the story than you know at first and the fascination with bringing people back to life appears to be one that goes through the ages. It is in the second part of the book that the gothic vibe comes out in force and more secrets are revealed, ones that you will not see coming but make the book a must read. 

Anna Mazzola has brought to life France under the reign of King Louis XV and the lives of both the rich and the poor, where the poor as seen as expendable and of little consequence. I love historical fiction and when it is done well I just disappear into the pages until I come out the other side and this is definitely one of those books. From the fascinating characters to the dark and disturbing story this one of my favourite books so far this year.

About the Author

Anna Mazzola is an award-winning and critically acclaimed novelist. Her debut novel, THE UNSEEING, won an Edgar Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown in the UK. Her second novel, The Story Keeper, was longlisted for the Highland Book Prize.

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