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Publisher: Scholastic Press
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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.When I read and loved Sharon Cameron's Rook, I knew it was time I picked up this series. And what a treat! The Dark Unwinding is a Gothic-tinged steampunky mystery that I just loved.
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.
Katharine is a really interesting character because she's so very logical and mathematically minded. When the Gothic elements of the story come into play, she doesn't think it's ghosts or anything supernatural. She deals with adversity and her problems in a very steadfast and held-together manner--at least in front of other people. I did get annoyed with her for not seeing what I thought should have been obvious, but I was certainly more caught up in seeing how the story would play out to be too concerned.
What appealed to me the most was Katharine's Uncle Tully and the people he's surrounded by. He is so charming in his way and the love everyone around him has for him is sweet. They're very threatened by Katharine, knowing she's there to have him declared insane, when everyone who depends on him will lose their livelihood. But they seem less concerned with themselves and more with him, which is, of course, endearing.
And not to forget the romance, unsurprisingly, I loved it. Lane is one of the people closest to Uncle Tully and who cares for him most fiercely--so Katharine's appearance is deeply threatening to him, so he greets her coldly. He and Katharine have some misunderstandings, but their attraction to one another is very quickly obvious. As they get to know one another, their relationship grows. And it's so sweet--I loved it.
This one book I'm sad I didn't pick up sooner. Luckily for me, with that bittersweet ending, I have its sequel, A Spark Unseen, sitting on my shelf waiting. Oh, and if you finish The Dark Unwinding not wishing to see Uncle Tully's creations, I don't know what's wrong with you.
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. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.