The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the listener on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles longstanding traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By anne on 15-08-15
An enchanting read
What a lovely gentle book. Not my usual kind of book so the author and narrator were new to me. However I will definitely look out for them again! The characters were well drawn and engaging. The narrator voiced them all beautifully and the story was fairy tail perfect.
32 of 35 people found this review helpful
By Stephen on 03-08-15
A little gem
What made the experience of listening to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street the most enjoyable?
The story is very good, but flags in places and the ending very very rushed - but I found the performance by Thomas Judd to be excellent - much more subtle accents than usually provided which underlined a key plot-line - very well done indeed.
What other book might you compare The Watchmaker of Filigree Street to, and why?
The premise is a bit science-fiction, but because of the West to Japanese cultural exploration, the 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
I liked the relationship between Grace Carrow and Matsumoto, particularly the early scenes in Oxford.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The sadness of Grace when she realised her hopes and dreams may get dashed.
Any additional comments?
Can't believe it's a debut novel!
19 of 21 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jennifer Wadsworth on 05-09-15
There is so much going on in this book that it’s hard to isolate just a few things I liked. I’ll talk about a couple here, but there are so many great parts in this book.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street sets a touching love story against a historic time of social and political unrest — Irish terrorists are bombing London in protest of British rule; women in England and other parts of the world are dissatisfied with their inability to vote and restricted independence; and Japan’s feudal and agrarian society is fighting a losing battle against the influence of Western culture and technology. After doing a little web surfing, I discovered that a lot of the history relayed in the book is accurate, including the bombings that are central to the story. I find historical fiction much more impressive when it can deliver a mostly-accurate history lesson at the same time it’s entertaining.
Another part of this story I appreciated was the subtle descriptions of what true love really looks like. In one part of the story, Mori encourages Thaniel, who has synesthesia, to draw and paint when he sees when he listens to music. Mori insists on hanging the drawings on the wall, even though Thaniel believes they are worthless. Mori describes Thaniel’s drawings as much more interesting than the paintings he just bought by that depressed Dutchmen (referring to, I’m assuming, Van Gogh).
In another part of the book, when Mori visits Grace and Thaniel’s new home, he is obviously unhappy that the music room is unfinished and there is no piano, though Grace’s laboratory in the basement is completely finished. Later, the reader learns that Mori sees Thaniel as a pianist while Grace sees him as an ordinary man who occasionally plays the piano. This makes a difference to Thaniel and affects his future choices. These are subtle parts of the story, but they say quite a lot about the relationships between the characters.
The narrator, Thomas Judd, did a great job with the voices. As I was listening, I didn’t think there was a lot of obvious variations in voice; but in hindsight, I never had any trouble distinguishing between characters. In particular, Thaniel’s, Mori’s, and Grace’s voices were perfect for their characters.
There is also the sock-stealing clockwork octopus, the cheeky workhouse orphan, the way clairvoyance is imagined, the wide range of diversity in the story, and the scientific cleverness displayed at the end. I can’t say more without giving too much away, but you’ll know what I mean when you read it. :)
This is just a fraction of what is so fascinating about The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. There are layers and layers of personal and social commentary in this book that, though presented in a historical setting, are so appropriate for today’s culture.
Really there isn’t much about this story I didn’t like. I only want to note that it is a slow, quiet story. For some people, slow and quiet stories can be hard to read and even harder to hear. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I found my attention wandering at times. But if you like the slow and quiet story, then give this book a try. It’s pretty impressive.
Copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Review courtesy of One Book Two book review blog.
31 of 32 people found this review helpful
By Gloria on 26-08-15
Steam punk multi-verse with Japanese flair
The book starts off slowly and I found myself put it aside from time to time. But it gradually built to a great pace and narrative, with a surprising ending that was delightful and touching. Worth sticking through to the end.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful