Feature Book of The Week #5 The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The Dark Unwinding
Sharon Cameron

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.

Author Post by Sharon Cameron

A Dark and Stormy Night

When I was about six years old I can remember looking at the blue sky and telling my mother how disappointed I was because “nothing interesting ever happens on a sunny day.” And as far as books go, I think my six year old self was right. “It was a dark and stormy night” is a cliché phrase, but I think it’s become so cliché because it’s a phrase that all of us react to. There’s something inside us that is drawn to the dark. We are enchanted by the danger, challenged to imagine what we might do when we encounter the mysterious.

It was definitely that way for me the first time I read about Welbeck Abbey, the house in England that inspired The Dark Unwinding. Welbeck was enormous and empty, hundreds of years old and riddled with miles of underground tunnels, some of them secret, some of them lit by gas lamps, one even dug beneath a lake. The Fifth Duke of Portland, owner of Welbeck, built an underground ballroom the size of a football field, lit by 8,000 gas jets in huge, crystal chandeliers, and then used this room for roller skating! And he painted every room in this strange, neglected house pink. Welbeck was secret, grand, shadowy, and a little bit crazy. A place with its own rules where anything could happen. The perfect tickle for an author’s imagination. What would I do, I thought, if I found myself alone in a vast, rundown mansion, opened a drawer, and touched human hair that perfectly matched my own? How would I react if I stared into the glass eyes of a clockwork automaton that looked exactly like my dead grandmother?

It can’t be dark and stormy every day, of course. If it was, then the clouds would lose all their charm. And if I’m being honest, I don’t want to find myself lost in a maze of a mansion with a lunatic on the loose, or see machines move when they shouldn’t. I don’t actually want to take that first step into the dark, spider-webbed tunnel without knowing what waits at the end. But then again, maybe I do. And isn’t that exactly what reading is for?

About the Author 

Sharon Cameron is the author of The Dark Unwinding (2012), A Spark Unseen (2013), and the forthcoming Rook (2015), all from Scholastic Press. When not writing, she can be found shooting her long bow or continuing her lifelong search for secret passages. She lives with her family in Nashville, TN.

Find out more about Sharon Cameron at her website.

2 Delicious Comments:

St. Gabriel Team said...

This was not a fan favorite at our book club. Most students had a hard time getting into the plot of this novel. Some of us do want to read the sequel just to see if Lane finds Ben and if he and Kathryn reunite.

Anonymous said...

I thought that this book was a little slow paced in the beginning, but it picked up in the middle. The ending had a lot of stuff happening al at once.
I was only disappointed when Davy died. I was really into his character and he was my favorite. :(
Overall though, I thought it was good.

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