Review: The Watchmaker’s Daughter by CJ Archer

The Watchmaker’s Daughter is a fantasy novel set in Victorian England, about a suddenly destitute young spinster, India, who find herself in the employ of a mysterious American looking for an unknown clockmaker. This is an Independent novel, self-published, highly praised on Goodread and yet given free on Amazon as an introduction to the series. I was personally very intrigued as I am myself putting the finishing touches on a Austenian fantasy and wanted to know how this one faired.

The read was quick and held all the elements of a popular mass market novel. In fact I am surprised it did not find a traditional publisher. It has all the ingredients usually sought after, the intriguing premise, the slight mystery, the plain/turns out attractive naïve heroine, romance, a poke of magic… and perhaps now I think about it a little too many clichés.

While I wanted to enjoy the read, it really didn’t feel like an independent voice but more of the same… like a product designed with all the ingredients the modern consumer of that product wants. Archer is a good writer, with a book well plotted, but perhaps it feels a little scholarly and while I was reading I ended up feeling like I was the one wearing the corset: stuck in a rigid format with too many things I’d already seen before and sadly didn’t care much about. Her characters were not very engaging, I can’t say I liked anyone, and they all felt two dimensional, very immature and with a very limited set of emotions. Romance is too much of a popular genre in ebooks and its traits are now bleaching into most of the other ones, to my greatest dismay. I will not be continuing onto the next book. It is not bad per say, just not very interesting.

I know there is people who will like the read though. It is very light-hearted and perfect to disconnect without having to think much at all. I would recommend it as a perfect read for bedridden patients who are too tired to concentrate and who like Victorian movie adaptations and BBC tv series (as purists will be annoyed by the anachronisms and simple language). Again it has to be highlighted that this book is Free, which is an amazing gift from the writer and deserves a lot of thanks for the hours of her work for our entertainment! It is appreciated.

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