Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review # 229: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Description: (from GoodReads)
     When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

     Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.
     As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it... 

     When I first received the book, I was immediately intrigued by the title - The Dark Unwinding - it felt seductively Gothic, and as I read the book, it proved to be very poetic and well-fitting. As with many books I receive, there was no cover art, just a black cover with white calligraphy-like scripting, but when I saw the final cover on Amazon, it took my breath away! Sharon Cameron did a phenomenal job detailing the characters and their surroundings, and the cover encapsulated that richness down to the well-greased wheels and cogs of Uncle Tully's clock-room. The book began rather slowly, but after discovering some character background, the plot "thickened", a series of events were set into motion that geared the reader up for some serious page-turning plot twists. I was truly captivated by Uncle Tully's "world" - from the eerie manor-house, to the mystery-filled workshop, to the property's hidden village workforce - each aspect was intricately detailed and left me in a state of perpetual amazement; especially the dragon, (no spoilers!). The characters, notably Uncle Tully, Katharine, Lane, and Davy were almost three-dimensional in their construction; I felt like I was part of the Victorian era. Their personalities, although subtle at first, played off of one another flawlessly. The building romance between Lane and Katharine was well-paced and fun. I definitely want to read more about their relationship in the next book, particularly because of the unforeseen ending, (no spoilers!). I agree with the publisher when I say that The Dark Unwinding had a very Jane Eyre feel to it - probably why I enjoyed it so much! Recommended to readers teen and up who prefer plots and characters that they can get wound-up in. (Gothic/ Victorian / Mystery / Romance / Not Steampunk)

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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