Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Scholastic (for tour)
A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!
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.
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. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron is a stunningly chilling tale of a mad man and the niece who is following him there, at least that is what Cameron will lead you to believe at times. There are so many turns and twists in this novel with not one moment where I was left bored or felt like the story was lagging. Every part of The Dark Unwinding is crucial to the storyline and it all comes down to one of the greatest tension building books I have ever read. Imagine scary music playing for a good portion of the book as your anticipation builds and builds and just when you think you can take it anymore you are taken to a whole new level of shock and even more anticipation.
I love the relationships that all of the characters have between each other. Mrs. Jefferies comes off very strong (and I even suspected her of being bad for a bit) but it is her fierce protectiveness of Uncle Tully that made me love her. It was Lane’s quiet but “I can still kick your butt any day” attitude that made me love him….for real though, if these characters were real I may be the first to shove Katherine in the mud to get to him…unfortunately for me I’m pretty sure they would both retaliate. There is Davy, the little mute boy who may or may not be communicating the whole time) who’s story is heart wrenching. One of my favorite characters was Katherine’s maid Mary. Mary was a piece of comedic relief, especially as the novel went on and everything because very stressful for Katherine. She reminded me very strongly of Martha Sowerby from The Secret Garden and without her this book would have been lacking.
Uncle Tully, either the mad man or the mastermind depending on which character you ask, was so cute! Not sure if you should be calling an old man cute, but he was definitely someone I wanted protected. While he is difficult to interact with because of his differences (aka his childlike mind) every character (besides Katherine’s aunt) loves him and believes he is a great man. He did, after all, gather up hundreds of people from the slums and workhouses, gave them a home and work. They all now thrive in life because of Uncle Tully and that’s got to say something for his heart.
Katherine Tulman is a complex character. Cameron does such a wonderful job building the layers (like an onion Shrek would say) to her wall and then tearing them down at the end. Katherine’s journeys at Stranwyne Keep estate (Inspired by Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England) is a wild ride where she must dig down inside herself to discover who is really is and learn to stand on her own two feet. Katherine is one of my favorite characters this year and is the perfect heroine. I love that she is strong and weak at the same time. She struggles to find her voice after years of living with her horrible aunt and it is within that struggle that she gains immeasurable strength. Girls (and guys) could learn a thing of two from Katherine.
The ending of the story left me feeling….depressed…only because I now have to live away from these characters that I grew to love. Cameron is working on a second book though; it’s now at the top of my list of things to read! I have to know what happens next! Because of the beautiful writing and amazing storyline in this novel I have to give it five stars!