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September 15, 2015

Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

by Donna Huber

cover The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
London, November 1883
The Home Office telegraphy department always smelled of tea. The source was one packet of Lipton's at the back of Nathaniel Steepleton's desk drawer. Before the widespread use of the electric telegraph, the office had been a broom cupboard. Thaniel had heard more than once that its failure to expand was a sign of the Home Secretary's continuing mistrust of naval inventions, be even if that wasn't the case, the departmental budget had never stretched to the replacement of the original carpet, which liked to keep the ghosts of old smells. Besides Thaniel's modern tea, there was cleaning salt and hessian, and sometimes varnish, though nobody had varnished anything there for years. Now, instead of brooms and brushes, there were twelve telegraphs lined up on a long desk. Three to an operator during the day, each wired to separate places within and without Whitehall, and labelled accordingly in the thin handwriting of a forgotten clerk.
The Review

As an adult I haven't been much a fan of Victorian England set novels, probably because everything I picked up was a romance. However, I'm kind of liking this steampunk genre. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley felt like a cross between Warehouse 13 and a Cold War era espionage novel.

I really enjoyed this novel and its intricate plot. If you are easily distracted while listening to audio books, then I recommend reading the novel yourself as you can quickly become lost with the story by missing a detail here and there. And there is a lot of detail, which made the story come to life. The narrator of the audio book did a great job so if audio books are your thing this one would be worth the listen.

It was definitely a fun novel with fantastical characters and a story line that keeps the reader a bit off kilter as to what is really going on. The writing was fantastic and I really like Pulley's style. The story does start off a bit slow and took a little while before I really got into it, but then when the story really picked up I kind of slapped my forehead for not paying better attention to the beginning.

If you like steampunk or historical fantasy, then you will want to check out The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

Buy The Watchmaker of Filigree Street at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook, audio, print (336 pages)
published: July 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
ISBN13: 978-1620408339
genres: steampunk, fantasy, historical
source: Audible publicist
listened to: August 2015

A free audio book from Audible was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. I can tell that the details brought forth in the opening lines would keep me interested. I love visualizing and even smelling the scenes. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “PRETTY GIRLS”

  2. I had hoped to read this one by now, but I haven't had a chance yet. I'm looking forward to it! It sounds like something I will really like.

  3. Have seen some very positive reviews of this one... I'm tempted to give it a try!

  4. This sounds really good; hadn't heard of it before. I'd read more.

  5. I'm having a hard time envisioning the room described in the opening. A broom cupboard sounds very small (like a coat closet), yet it holds four telegraph operators and their equipment. It's hard to imagine that the scent of one old tea bag could be discernible among all the other smells! However, I'm intrigued by the description and would keep reading to find out what takes place in this setting.
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