Book Review

The Mechanical Maestro – Emily Owen

I have something a bit different for you today as historical fiction meets steampunk in The Mechanical Maestro by Emily Owen. Many thanks to Emily for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.


London, 1857.

Brothers George and Douglas Abernathy are clockmakers who are barely scraping a living in their family’s shop. They are also brilliant inventors with a sideline building custombuilt androids and other technology ahead of its time. Their sixteen-year-old sister, Molly, is also a genius, specialising in transformative plant biology, but earns her keep by sewing.

The Abernathys’ fortunes improve dramatically when the brothers invent a clockwork automaton composer named Maestro, whose musical artistry takes London by storm. But there are those who believe Maestro is a fake, and others who think him a monstrosity.

As Maestro tries to make sense of the world of London’s high society which he is thrown into, he incites the interest of sinister figures who would go to any lengths to discover what makes him tick.

Immerse yourself in the world of three brilliant siblings and their musical automaton, Maestro.

The Mechanical Maestro is the first book in an upcoming series following the adventures of the Abernathy family and their clockwork creations.

This novel is sure to delight fans of historical fiction, steampunk, music lovers and engineers alike.

The Mechanical Maestro Front cover


When you pick up The Mechanical Maestro, you enter a beautifully detailed world, and meet a cast of extraordinarily colourful characters. Alongside this, you have a story of discovery and intrigue as people plot to get their hands on the titular Maestro.

The eccentric Abernathy family are instantly appealing, George and Douglas with their incredibly advanced automata, and Molly with her (sometimes out of control) botanical experiments. I was particularly fond of Douglas and Molly, but George is a character I found a little harder to fathom – I look forward to getting to know him better in the upcoming books in this series. In my mind their home and shop is a higgeldy-piggeldy affair full of nooks and crannies and strange contraptions. It felt like the kind of place you could spend hours exploring and still not discover all of its secrets.

As well as being story about the talented Abernathys, The Mechanical Maestro is also a tale of their most advanced creation to date, the wonderful Maestro himself, and I was delighted to see that there were chapters in the book told from his point of view. As I was reading, I could almost here the music he composed, and it created a kind of ache to hear it for real. Watching him discover the world and his place in it, and his attachment to Douglas was incredibly endearing.

Emily Owen’s writing has a charm to it that put me in mind of both The Binding and The Toymakers in different ways, and I know she is an author I will return to time and again.

The Mechanical Maestro Back Cover


Since completing her Masters by Research, Emily Owen has worked as an Archives Assistant at the University of Huddersfield. She lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.






Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part on this tour.

Mechanical Maestro BT Poster

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