The Dark Unwinding
Katherine is sent by her evil Aunt Alice to her wealthy Uncle Tully's estate called Stranwyne Keep. Her aunt is worried that Stranwyne Keep is being poorly managed Uncle Tully, who she believes is incapable of running his estate. In reality, Uncle Tully has a form of autism, but by Victorian standards, he is insane.
“She was the clock, a clock that had lost its key, unwinding in the dark.”
Upon arriving at Stranwyne Keep, Katherine discovers what a genius her uncle really is. He is a brilliant inventor who makes automatons out of clockwork parts. However, this puts his estate into major debt along with his refuge of men, women, and children from the workhouses of London. Katherine loves her Uncle Tully, but struggles internally as she cannot decide whether or not to protect her uncle or tell the truth to her Aunt Alice.
“I knew full well that Lane considered himself more family than servant to my uncle, and that my uncle felt the same; the only real question was who considered himself the father and who the child.”
Lane is Uncle Tully's apprentice, whom Katherine falls in love with. Katherine admires the way Lane takes care of her uncle and cannot ignore her love for him. Her unavoidable feelings for Lane makes her decisions even harder.
Most Important Point
The fact that Uncle Tully had autism was an interesting detail. During this Victorian era, people were not yet educated about autism and thought he was insane.
The use of automatons was an interesting detail because I had never heard of them before reading the book. An automaton is a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being.
Katherine's sleepwalking and memory loss is another interesting detail because it adds danger and mystery to the plot.