The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

I never used to read a wide range of books. My reading material would just consist of young adult books and then one day, I decided to branch out. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was one of the books on my list: ‘Books to Branch Out To’. It sounded interesting, it sounded very different and I was very intrigued by the whole premise of the book. Even the blurb left an aura of mystery still shrouding the storyline.

The cover is so interesting as well. I’m not 100% about the U.S edition, but with the U.K edition, there’s a hole in the front cover where the watch is and when you open up the book, the watch that is a significant part of the story, is shown on the inside page. It’s an absolutely gorgeous cover and one of the things that pulled me towards the book.

He lived his life like clockwork.

Until he met the watchmaker.

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The character of Thaniel Steepleton seemed like so interesting. He works in the telegram Home Office and is privy to certain secrets – like the fact that the Irish have bombs planned to go off round London. 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is told from two points of view that slowly – over the course of the book – slowly intertwine. 

I didn’t find much of a plot in this book until the last third of the story which was disappointing. It was so slow during the first part that I was so tempted to put it down and just forget about it. But I hate leaving books unfinished. I’m glad that I finished it though because in the last 150 pages, it’s action packed and the main plot reveals itself. It’s also a very confusing read because you don’t know what the plot is. 


“Englishmen were rained upon too often to come up with anything that imaginative.”

– Natasha Pulley, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street


I loved the characters of Mori and Matsumoto though. I found their backgrounds to be brilliant – especially Mori – and I loved how Pulley integrated Japanese culture into Victorian London. Speaking of Victorian London, the description of this setting is fantastic and is some of the best descriptions that I have read of that time period in a long time. 

The ending was slightly confusing as well and so was the friendship between two of the characters that I cannot reveal because: SPOILERS! But even though I found the friendship between the two characters confusing – and I had to read over the same part about four times to fully understand what had happened – I thought it was a brilliant story arc for the characters and was beautifully written and the build up to that particular part was amazingly written.

I give this book three stars because there was barely any plot for the first half of the book and some of the story was just plain confusing and hard to keep up with. However, the writing was beautiful and the characters were well thought out.

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