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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
ISBN: 9780545469647
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: September 01, 2012
Series: N/A
Page #: 318
Source: ARC from the publisher

"When a rumor that her uncle is squandering away the family fortune surfaces, Katharine Tulman is sent to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of childlike rules, who is employing a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London. Katharine is now torn between protecting her own livelihood and preserving the peculiar community she has grown to care for deeply. And things are made even more complicated by the growing feelings Katharine has for her uncle's handome apprentice.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that it is not only her uncle's world that is 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 thrills and romance, until the stunning end.
First Lines:

"June 1852
Warm sun and robin's-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one's uncle to a lunatic asylum. I had settled this point four hours earlier, while miles of road slipped beneath the carriage wheels."
Page 1

I was definitely in the mood for a historical story - and the mystery aspect of this story really gave it a boost. And some of the characters... well, you can't help but fall in love with them.

Katharine lives with her Aunt and cousin in London. Her Aunt is a very strict and sour woman - and reminds Katharine often about her situation and her control over her life. It is rumored that her uncle needs to be committed to an asylum and her aunt sends her off to make that determination. Once she gets to her uncle's house, she realizes just exactly what he is like and how people perceive him. It's not quite what her aunt thinks - and Katharine has a hard decision to make. Not to mention that there are strange noises, secret passages, and odd characters to contend with.

I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. It's a really solid historical fiction book that is very character driven - with types of people you would never expect. I would almost describe this book as heartwarming. Katharine starts out fighting opposition coming from all sides, and she has to believe in herself to get through the days. But you really are rooting for her from page one.

The character of Katharine's Uncle - Mr. Tully - is very interesting. He's a genius, to put it lightly. But he has a childlike mindset. He has playtime every day... takes tea at the same time every day... is very concerned with counting and repetition and rules. He builds these amazing clockwork characters - mostly based on people he has known. And Katharine finds that she understands him and knows how to be a part of his life. Which is much to the surprise of everyone else in the town.

There are tons of characters to love... Mary Brown, Davy, Lane, Ben Aldridge, and so many more. They really make this story interesting for very different reasons. They made me wish I lived in the town with them. But it seems like a great life and they all are very loyal (for the most part ;)). Not to mention the love interest for Katharine - mild as it may have been.

 It's really well done and I wished for about 100 more pages. Alas. I am a little worried that the ending was a bit rushed - it felt like there was a lot of ground to cover in the last couple of chapters. But I was happy enough with how things turned out. If there's a next book with these characters, I'm all in! :)

I really think that anyone who likes historical fiction will really love this book. It's a great story and it was such a fast read. I also think that the themes are so universal, you can get past the historical stuff if you're not interested - but I love that stuff. I've already recommended this book to a couple of people, so I'm excited. I also think it's great that the author is from Nashville - because that's where I'm from/live now. So cool! I love finding awesome local authors. I look forward to more from her.
Other Blog Reviews:

Ravenous Biblioworm's Book Reviews
Yeah, so... didn't see any other reviews out there yet. I'm sure there will be more once we get closer to the pub date. I urge you all to give it a shot.

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