Synopsis: 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 is a charming, moody steampunk(ish*) historical mystery. In the same tone of Sharon Cameron’s other novels, it has strong characterization and atmosphere with a slowly-unraveling plot and subtle action. If you’re easily bored by books or in the midst of a slump , I doubt this book will be for you. If you’re a reader willing to invest in an appropriately calmly-paced book with the intrigue of a good Steampunk, the mystery of a whodunnit, and the atmosphere of gothic/historical fiction, I think this book will be a real treat.
The Dark Unwinding is a real hidden gem. Arguably under sold by it’s synopsis and cover, The Dark Unwinding has flown fairly under the radar. Until the end, I never had a solid idea of where The Dark Unwinding was going. It is quite unlike anything else I’ve read in the best way possible. Even as I closed the book I was still unsure quite what this book was. Steampunk? In a sense. Mystery? Certainly, but in a more nuanced sense than your typical whodunnit. Gothic? Maybe, at times. Historical Fiction? Certainly, all though that feels like an under-sell. At the end of the day, I think The Dark Unwinding has to exist outside labels; and while that may make it hard to market, it makes it no less enjoyable.
The Dark Unwinding is a solidly good book. As one might imagine with a Scholastic book, The Dark Unwinding is clean and wholesome, but to be frank, anything else would seem out of place. Unlike some other novels, it feels wholesome by nature, not just for the sake of being wholesome (which can be overbearing and painful). Katharine and Lane had an enjoyable romance (not a spoiler, mentioned in synopsis), that left on a carefully crafted cliff-hanger. The ending is final enough to be satisfying, but leaves enough open to set the scene for an enjoyable sequel. I throughly enjoyed The Dark Unwinding, and intend to pick up the sequel soon. I would recommend this for fans of The Infernal Devices and Something Strange and Deadly series.