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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Ok, so I'm a little late with February's entry in the Inspired by Reading group (maybe because I only remembered to start reading the last week).

Watchmaker is Pulley's debut novel, and an unusual novel it is.  Set mostly in London, 1883-1884 (with a few flashbacks to Japan), it details the odd relationships that develop between Thaniel, a telegraph clerk for the government, Mori, the mysterious titular watchmaker, and Grace, a physicist at Oxford. Despite the setting and clockwork inventions, and even the touch of magic, "steampunk" doesn't really apply as the story is far more concerned with the philosophical concepts of fate and free will.  The novel is deeper and darker than its synopsis would suggest.

Fittingly, with the exception of Thaniel (a genuinely good man) the characters are difficult, flawed people who don't neatly fit into storytelling tropes like The Ally, the Wise Man, or The Antagonist. Grace in particular is fascinating, exasperating, egotistical, and sometimes just plain terrible. This gives the novel a depth that keeps it from becoming too twee and whimsical. By the story's end, there is a lingering disquiet because we don't know who is ultimately right about Mori, Thaniel or Grace. 

On to the jewelry! Incorporating watch parts was a no-brainer, but I wanted a fairly simple necklace:
I added a typewriter key because of Thaniel. Yeah, telegraph keys are unadorned because there's only the one per machine, but I like the way it looks.

I really enjoyed the thoughful Watchmaker, and I look forward to the coming sequel.

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