- ISBN-13: 9780545327862
- ISBN-10: 0545327865
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: September 2012
- Page Count: 318
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-08-20
- Reviewer: Staff
In 1852, 17-year-old orphan Katharine Tulman is faced with a monumental task: travel from London to Stranwyne Keep, her uncle's Victorian estate in the country, and commit him to an asylum. He has supposedly become "unbalanced in his mind" and is depleting Katharine's cousin's inheritance with his projects—and Katharine herself has designs on that money. Strange, haunting things begin to happen the moment haughty Katharine arrives at Stranwyne, but her attitude changes as she discovers her uncle's ingenious toy inventions, learns about his gasworks that employ and house hundreds from the workhouses, and falls for his attractive apprentice, Lane. Just as romance and fun enter Katharine's life for the first time, she begins to have inexplicable, violent episodes that put her future, the town, and England in peril. Inspired by the life of an eccentric real-life duke, Cameron's eerie and suspenseful first novel offers gripping twists, rich language, and an evocative landscape. Readers should find it easy to become fully absorbed in this gothic coming-of-age story about finding unexpected freedom. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
The odd mysteries of a British estate
Seventeen-year-old Katharine Tulman, an orphan under the guardianship of her dreadful aunt, has been sent to her uncle’s country estate to have him committed to an insane asylum. Having never met her Uncle Tully, Katharine plans to carry out her assignment and return to London at once. However, she is unprepared for the people who await her: her uncle, an eccentric inventor who spends hours in his workshop tinkering with toys that exceed the imagination; his brooding yet handsome assistant; a secretive, mute boy; a resentful housekeeper; and a gossipy servant.
Uncle Tully’s estate holds more than just his workshop; it is responsible for the livelihood of 900 people, all of whom will do anything to stop Katharine from taking it away. She must weigh the lives of hundreds of people—including powerless women, poor families and others on the fringes of society—against her own. If she doesn’t want to see her uncle’s laborers sent back to London’s abysmal workhouses, she just might have to forfeit her own financial future.
Set in 1852 against the backdrop of England’s burgeoning Technological Revolution, The Dark Unwinding blends together elements of streampunk and Gothic literature. It is atmospheric and imaginative, rooted in a rich history and packed with well-drawn characters—and is a great crossover for adults.