Synopses & Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automataandmdash;self-operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp and an uncanny ability to make Natalieandrsquo;s half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is a bit off. Her uneasiness leads her to investigate the intricate maze of the medicine show, where she discovers a horrible truth and realizes that only she has the power to set things right.
Set in 1914, The Boneshaker is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it.
"Set in 1913, Milford's debut is a sure-footed, slow-burning thriller. Feisty 13-year-old Natalie has grown up in a small Missouri town located near a mysterious crossroads, listening to the local myths about it that her mother shares. When Dr. Limberleg opens the Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show, the townspeople (afraid of catching the neighboring town's flu) take to his products and team, who promote phrenology, hydrotherapy, magnetism, and amber therapy. Mechanically minded Natalie, however, is determined to get through the smoke and mirrors, and she finds that Dr. Limberleg's cures come with strings attached. 'Most people are much older when they discover their world isn't the place they thought it was,' he warns. 'By then... sometimes... it's too late.' The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ('In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better'). Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10 up. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A 2011 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
"Not to be confused with Cherie Priest's steampunk novel of the same name (though there is just the barest whiff of steampunk here), this historical fantasy uses the classic devil-at-the-crossroads motif as the foundation for an elaborate and intricate gearwork story set in the little town of Arcane, Missouri, in 1913...Both impressive and ambitious, Milford's first novel rarely overreaches as it lays out an eerie and atmospheric vision of early-twentieth-century Americana, electrified by supernatural traces and a generously complex look at good, evil, and the wide swath in between."—Booklist, starred review
"The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ("In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better")."—Publishers Weekly
"This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil."—Kirkus Reviews
"The gloomy mood, established from the very moment Josie arrives at the estate, is sustained throughout, infusing each scene with a creeping dread...An excellent introduction to the gothic genre and a satisfyingly errie read."
—School Library Journal
Set in 1914 and brimming with magical and steampunk elements, "The Boneshaker" is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it.
In early 19th century England, Josie, 16, finds herself in a sinister place with mysterious, hostile people, including her own relatives. Persistence and determination drive her to uncover the town's horrifying secret—a conspiracy to wreck and plunder ships—despite obstacles natural and supernatural.
In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She's told that Eli, the young man she's attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village's secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author's note gives the historical inspiration for this story.
About the Author
Kate Milford lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has written for stage and screen, and is a regular travel columnist at www.nagspeake.com. The Boneshaker is her first book. To find out more about Kate and her work, visit www.clockworkfoundry.com.