Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Book #: 1st of Series
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: August 27th 2012
Date Read : September 13th 2013
Rating: ★★★★¼ / out of 5
I had thought to save myself, but of all the ridiculous lies, that had somehow been the true one. Leaving Stranwyne, destroying Stranwyne, was going to destroy me instead. There would be no saving of anyone at all.
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.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I was interested in reading this book, but it was on the back burner until I was accepted to review an ARC of the sequel. At that, I decided I best be getting on with it!
The story is what I found most interesting. It is obvious that Strawnyne, Katharine's Uncle's estate, is more than it seems. There is something going on that our MC has come to root out, fix, and be on her way. However, she realizes that something this good doesn't need fixing.
Unfortunately, I found a large part of the story boring, which is why I was hesitant to give it closer to a 5 star rating. It was really only the last few chapters that had me on edge.
Katharine, our MC, was definitely strong willed. She came to Stranwyne with a mission and, guilty conscious or not, was set on getting it accomplished. In the beginning, I found her to be too.. a typical, well-off lady:
"As soon as you have begun the tea, please inform the house keeper that I will require a man to deal with my trunk. It was left at the front doors. Have it taken to my room immediately, if you please, and you may tell her that I will do my own unpacking."However, of the many things Katharine comes to realize, it is that she has changed her opinion of this place by the end of the book:
The woman released the sugar bowl and squinted. "Who the devil are you?"
By quarter till seven, the mirror showed the girl I had been when I first came to Stranwyne. Though I knew I would never really be here again.
The romance was good, too. Very slow and definitely no sign of insta-love. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that both the love interests despise each other in the beginning. Later, though it does not get too steamy, they do come to discover their feelings for each other and steal a few kisses.
One of the things I loved most about this book were all of the side characters in their relation to Mr. Tully. He himself was a very touching, sweet, child-like character, but seeing how all the other characters treated him and acted around him was very sincere.
And then, there's Davy...
Overall, I felt this to be a very well-done historical fiction, with some steampunk, romance, and mystery! Definitely check out this and the sequel, coming out September 2013!
What kind of women must she have been, and why had I been the one to tear down everything she had struggled to build?
He put his hands in his pockets. "You are showing unexpected talents, Miss Tulman. I wonder how far that streak might go."
I lifted a brow. "I'm quite certain I am equal to anything you might have in mind, Mr. Moreau."
Why had life singled me out for drudgery and isolation, and to be the instrument of others' unhappiness? But my one boon, my saving grace, had always been my own mind, where I was free, where I could do as I would, without interference.
Males were strange creatures.
"Little things become big things," he told me incessantly, and on Thursday we would the clocks systematically, rhythmically, and in the attempt to coax my uncle's smile, I more often discovered that he had coaxed my own.
I wondered if my uncle could hear my broken parts inside, as he had with my father; I wished he could fix them.
Because my uncle had a different way of thinking, a view of the world they did not understand, and money that others wished to spend. For this they would lock him up in a cell without even proper examination. Lock him up like a specimen.
"Well, it will not be the same, Katharine. Not for all of us... Not for me."
He wouldn't let me win, as I thought a gentleman might have, only laughed when I complained, telling me that I had no complaint, as he'd never been a gentleman.
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