Book Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Series: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #1
Author: Natasha Pulley
Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Paperback, 336 pages
Goodreads / Amazon / Waterstones


n 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. When the watch saves Thaniel’s life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori – a kind, lonely Japanese immigrant. Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library, desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.

As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.


‣ POV: 3rd person

Emojis: 🏯🍵🐙⏱️🇬🇧💣

‣ Trigger and Content Warnings: violence, bombing, murder, racist comments

My Thoughts

This book was utterly charming and I enjoyed every second of it. It’s not an easy read, it’s one where you really have to concentrate on what you’re reading, but my Gosh is it rewarding at the end. The way Pulley writes is so detailed and intricate, every moment builds upon another until you get to the climax at the end. She makes even the most mundane of instances become interesting. You’re pulled in right from the start and it’s basically just a paragraph about the smell of tea. Tea. But Pulley has this magical way of writing that just makes everything seem important.

And most of it is. You have to pay attention to what the character’s say (especially Mori the watchmaker!) because it all slowly reveals the plot. It’s definitely an intriguing one, the search for a mysterious bomb maker, but it also fades in importance depending on what the characters are going through at the time.

If you’re looking for an action-packed, heart-stopping novel I’ll warn that this is most definitely not it. It has a very slow moving plot and I’d say it’s more character-driven than plot-driven. In fact my favourite aspects of this novel were when our main character Thaniel was just sat around talking to Mori. They have this very understated romance between them and the attraction between them is clear from the beginning. The conversations and secret glances, and all the inside jokes, it really felt like you were being shown something very private. You spend most of your time thinking ‘are they in a relationship?’ and then you get to the end and realise the truth.

The Watchmaker is a book that is full of whimsy, from Mori’s clockwork creations, to the way the time shifts back and forth. But even with all that it’s still cemented in reality, the research Pulley put into creating a very realised Victorian atmosphere was amazing. All the small details, even the attitudes the characters show, all helped with the illusion of the past. Be warned though the characters, even the main character Grace, do have some time appropriate ways of thinking. The way they think of the Japanese is at times very eyebrow raising. But it does make sense given the time period in the novel, and most of the characters do change and learn.

Really I just want other readers to give this book a chance. I’ve seen a lot of reviews calling it boring or simple but it really isn’t. If you keep in mind that this is not an action-packed book, but one that is, at it’s heart, a beautiful love story, I’m sure others will fall in love with it just as much as I have.

Whole-heartedly recommended and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

Happy Reading and a very Happy Christmas Eve! Hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow,

Lea x


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