Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Clockwork Three

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

What a fantastic book! The story takes place in the 19th century in a large, gritty city, similar to New York. The three main characters, teens Hannah, Frederick, and Giuseppe, come from different backgrounds and each have a fascinating story to tell. Their various circumstances paint a true-to-life picture of the place and time.

The characters eventually meet and realize that they each desperately need something and can help each other. Their adventure together provides a fast-paced story that includes a green violin, an amazing automaton, and a mysterious treasure.

I like Giuseppe’s story best, and was interested to read that the author based his character off a true story of an Italian boy he read about in an 1873 newspaper. The “About the Author” page reads:

“Joseph had been taken from his home in Italy and brought to New York City as a slave to play music on the streets for money. One night, he escaped from his captor and fled to Central Park, where a kind old woman took care of him. Eventually Joseph’s story became well-known, and he went to court to testify against his padrone, which led to changes in the law to protect other boys like him. Joseph’s bravery and strength are what inspired Matthew to write The Clockwork Three, his first novel.”

Life for children was certainly different then. Many kids were exploited, treated harshly, and forced to grow up quickly. The laws did little to help and protect them. I like the historical context of this book because it teaches today’s kids how fortunate they are. My daughter flew through this book, and I was only halfway through when my teen son swiped it from me. But of course I'd fly to the moon to get him to read, so I willingly gave it up.

This novel is great for kids ages 10 or 11 to adult. I hope Kirby continues to deliver such wonderful stories!

Oops, it looks like he does have some other books out -- they should be fun to check out!


  1. Great review, Megan! I am so happy you liked the book :-)

  2. Hey, thanks for the loan!! You've got great taste! :)