August 27th, 2012

Review | The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Scholastic Press | September 1, 2012 | 336 pages

Launch Party

Monday, August 27, 6:30-8 pm

Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215

Procurement

eARC from publisher via NetGalley

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 6

Writing: 5

Originality: 6

Characters: 5

Romance: 5

Overall: 32/30!! A++++

Title/Cover Bonus: 5

Overall

An engrossing tale of a strange old man who loves his playtime, a niece who learns to love playtime too, amoung other things, a house full of endearing servants, tunnels and a most unusual self sustaining estate.

Summary (Goodreads)

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

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. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

Trailer

None when review was written.

First Line

June 1852

Warm sun and robin’s-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum.

Most Memorable Scene

The most memorable scene is a most horrible scene. I can’t even talk about it thoroughly because of the spoilery content. However, I can say that it happens during Miss Tulman’s birthday party and involves cucumbers. I am also most fond of the first rolling scene.

Plot

Oh goodness me! This plot is full of so much. Mr. Tully’s mental health, Miss. Tulman’s infuritating Aunt and her instructions to commit her uncle to an asylum, playtime, Ben Aldridge’s intentions, Lane’s intentions, Mrs. Jefferies intentions and sweet little Davy and his bunny Bertram, the sleepwalking and so much more! I was fully engrossed into it all and couldn’t get enough.

Source: Austin Newport Limited via wikipedia

Setting

Stranwyne Keep is glorious and I would do ANYTHING to live there or somewhere equally amazing. Full of rose colored rooms, most of them dust covered and in drastic need of repair, and more rooms than one could ever need. Tons of underground tunnels leading to different areas of the estate. An incredibly large ballroom mostly underground is the setting for the rolling scene I mentioned above.

I finished the book to read the author’s notes at the end only to find out that it is all based on a real, once living, person and place! The inspirations were England’s Welbeck Abbey and the fifth Duke of Portland. I have since spent a great amount of time reading all about this amazing structure! I would love to visit it one day.

Writing

Written from Miss Tulman’s point of view and it is done perfectly. Sharon did an utterly beautiful job at writing this story.

Originality

As a historical mystery/romance this is one of the most original stories I have EVER read, of any genre. I loved how Sharon took the general idea of the Duke of Portland and ran with it. She created the most original character, Mr. Tully, that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I looked forward to scenes that he was present in.

Characters

Bilbo Baggins as Mr. Tully | Source: Alicia-Logic.com

The characters become a family quite quickly. Miss Tulman is an intruder set to remove the estates sole provider and set the rest of them on their behinds. She really has no choice in the matter if she wants to ensure her financial future with her Aunt Alice. Aunt Alice is a real piece of work that’s for sure. She wants the estate to turn over to her, apparently mentally challenged, son while still in good standing. She a right greedy wench.

We first meet Mrs. Jefferies, the estate cook, Davy, a mute boy, and Bertram, Davy’s rabbit, followed closely by Lane, Mrs. Jefferies nephew. Each of them are unique and harness so much individual character it’s hard to dislike any of them and you won’t.

Mr. Tully is introduced and he is one special character. I kept picturing an old version of Bilbo Baggins with a beard, who seemed to mostly wear a nightshirt.

Lane is a character we slowing get to know. I enjoyed learning about him and loved how he and Miss Tulman’s relationship evolved.

Romance

The romance is not the front runner of this story but it is an important one towards the end. I loved seeing Lane and Miss Tulman evolve into a great relationship. One I was rooting for with vigor! I am really hoping for a follow up book but this one is enough to be a stand alone.

Title/Cover Bonus

I didn’t pay much attention to the cover at all at first. I had read the summary and knew this was a book I had to read. I think the cover is perfect but the title isn’t amazing. It’s a good title though but not something I would consider catchy. Also, after looking over Sharon’s website I noticed that the initial title of this was SO MUCH BETTER! Turning Clockwise is such a perfect title. I’m just hoping that’s the name of the series. I’m anxious to know what the series name will be since there is no sign that this is indeed a series other than Sharon’s own website announcement.

Ending

Divine. The most perfectly perfect ending of all time, well, mostly. I was a tiny bit sad with how it ended for Lane but it was for the best in the end, hence my wanting of a follow up! I want to know what will happen with Lane and Miss Tulman and of course Mr. Tully!

Series

I was so happy to  find on Sharon’s website that there will be a sequel! I can’t wait to revisit Stranwyne Keep and these amazing characters!

Author (Goodreads)

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.


Disclosure: Amazon.com Associate. If you click on my links and purchase anything a very small percentage of the purchase price will be awarded to The Cozy Reader.

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