THE DARK UNWINDING won The Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award from Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators! The Crystal Kite is the only peer given award in the children’s industry. Thank you Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas!
THE DARK UNWINDING was chosen for the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of 2013 list!
The sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING is coming this fall, titled…
…A SPARK UNSEEN.
Look for final cover announcements soon!
TDU has made the Young Adult Library Services Association’s list of Best Young Adult Fiction for 2013.
Thank you, YALSA!!
…THE DARK UNWINDING, the audio book! Coming fall of 2013.
To be read by the super talented and award winning Fiona Hardingham, reader of the THE SCORPIO RACES.
SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!
THE DARK UNWINDING made the list.
Thanks to my amazing designer Elizabeth Parisi and my lovely editor Lisa Sandell for all their care and hard work on the TDU cover.
Thanks, Horn Book! This is lovely!
HORN BOOK MAGAZINE –
(reviewed October, 2012)
Seventeen-year-old Katharine Tullman is faced with an onerous task: her mean-spirited and acerbic Aunt Alice is sending her to Stranwyne to commit her Uncle Tully to an asylum, thus saving the family fortune that he is rumored to be depleting. While he is admittedly strange—he would probably be labeled autistic today—his estate and fantastical creations are providing the means to rescue families from the poorhouse, allowing them to live together as they care for him and the property. First-time novelist Cameron has based this delightful tale on the fifth Duke of Portland’s Victorian estate, Welbeck Abbey, which provided work for poor families in a similar manner during the 1850s. A Sue Alexander Award winner, Cameron has created characters worthy of this larger-than-life estate and a plot that is as convoluted and surprising as the house itself. With villains morphing into friends and friends morphing into foes, the novel, while perhaps not an easy sell, will reward those readers who enjoy historical fiction served up with a dash of the strange, the mysterious, and the romantic.
— Frances Bradburn
Review: The Dark Unwinding
September 14th, 2012
The Plot: June, 1852. England. Orphaned Katherine Tulman owes everything to her Aunt Alice. Not in a good way. When Katherine was left orphaned, Alice was the one who took in her late husband’s niece. Aunt Alice makes it known that in every possible way that without Alice, Katherine would be on the streets. With nothing. Aunt Alice fears that her husband’s eldest brother is spending all his money, which will mean nothing left for Alice’s son.
Aunt Alice’s instructions are clear: Katherine is to travel to Stranwyne Keep, the family estate. Get proof that her uncle is incapable of handling his own affairs. Report back to Aunt Alice and her solicitors, so that Alice can seize control of the family fortune and property on behalf of the sole living heir, her own son, Robert. (The family property goes strictly to the eldest living male heir, so Katherine, as a female, is excluded.) Katherine agrees, because as a poor orphan with no prospects, her only hope for future food and shelter is that young Robert gains his inheritance so he can, like his mother before him, take care of the poor relative.
Katherine arrives at Stranwyne. She meets her uncle Frederick. Aunt Alice is both right, and wrong, about what is happening with her uncle and the Tulman fortune. Her uncle is child-like, who lives with odd self-imposed rules and is also a brilliant inventor. Money has been spent on the inventions; but money has also been spent in taking 900 men, women and children from the workhouses of London to create a community that, given time, will not just be self-sufficient but also a source of income. The longer Katherine stays, the more she becomes attached to her uncle and the local villagers; but she cannot forget that it is her aunt who ensures her future. What should she do?
The Good: Uncle Frederick’s inventions are, for the most part, automatons. The descriptions of them seem almost fantastical; but this is not a story of magic or fantasy. It’s historical fiction, and the described automatons reflect the science of the day. Cameron’s website includes links to some videos of automatons. Stranwyne is also based in historic reality: Welbeck Abbey. I love how two of the aspects of this book are things that seem so unreal or unlikely that one could think The Dark Unwindingis a fantasy. It is not. Instead, it’s the type of historical fiction I really enjoy, grounded in lesser-known history.
Katherine is an interesting character, between a rock and a hard place. Aunt Alice is a nasty bit of business. When Katherine meets some resistance and suspicion from her uncle’s employees, Katherine thinks “the normalcy of being in a room with with a woman who despised me had restored some of my common sense.” Katherine, despite herself, wants more from life even if she cannot voice it, cannot dream it. She decides to delay reporting back to her aunt, and as each day goes by, she grows closer to the villagers: the housekeeper/cook, Mrs. Jeffries; her 18 year old nephew, Lane; Davy, a young mute boy; Ben Aldridge, an engineering student from Cambridge studying her uncle’s inventions. All seem to share a common goal: convince Katherine to not tell the truth about Uncle Tully’s condition. Are their friendships, are the flirtations of Lane and Ben, to be trusted? Katherine isn’t even sure she can trust herself: she starts sleepwalking and having memory loss.
I loved the idea of the Tulman family (Frederick’s mother, not his brothers or his sister in law) trying to figure out a way to protect Frederick and the money; and the solution of creating a self-sufficient village. Invest in crafts and industry, an investment of several years, and yes, it will cost money at first, but in the long run it creates a home and livelihood for people in addition to preserving enough family money. I also loved Uncle Tully and his inventions. Can all these people survive Aunt Alice and the laws that seem to be on her side? I also loved the Stranwyne Keep itself: full of rooms and hallways and pathways.
Finally, I loved that The Dark Unwinding surprised me. First, by not being a fantasy. Second, by it’s interesting look at history. Next, by Katherine herself, damaged and hurt and learning for the first time to trust and love. Finally – the ending! So unexpected yet it makes sense. And it’s brave because it makes sense but it’s not what the reader wants. The Dark Unwinding rather gives the reader what he needs. A good story.
In 1852, 17-year-old orphan Katharine Tulman is faced with a monumental task: travel from London to Stranwyne Keep, her uncle’s Victorian estate in the country, and commit him to an asylum. He has supposedly become “unbalanced in his mind” and is depleting Katharine’s cousin’s inheritance with his projects–and Katharine herself has designs on that money. Strange, haunting things begin to happen the moment haughty Katharine arrives at Stranwyne, but her attitude changes as she discovers her uncle’s ingenious toy inventions, learns about his gasworks that employ and house hundreds from the workhouses, and falls for his attractive apprentice, Lane. Just as romance and fun enter Katharine’s life for the first time, she begins to have inexplicable, violent episodes that put her future, the town, and England in peril. Inspired by the life of an eccentric real-life duke, Cameron’s eerie and suspenseful first novel offers gripping twists, rich language, and an evocative landscape. Readers should find it easy to become fully absorbed in this gothic coming-of-age story about finding unexpected freedom. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
“Why had life singled me out for drudgery and isolation, and to be the instrument of others’ unhappiness?”
Katharine, an orphan reliant entirely upon the charity of her father’s sister-in-law, has been dispatched by her horrid aunt to the estate of her father’s only remaining living sibling—to declare him a lunatic and thereby settle the family’s fortune on her odious cousin. The pragmatic 17-year-old is astounded and appalled to find that Stranwyne is home to a gasworks, a kiln and a foundry, along with two idyllic villages populated by some 800 souls plucked from the workhouses of London to serve and support her Uncle Tully. While far from a lunatic, Katharine’s uncle is nevertheless terribly vulnerable, a man today’s readers will recognize as on the autistic spectrum, a wizard with numbers and gadgets but entirely helpless in society. At the behest of handsome, gray-eyed Lane, her uncle’s chief caregiver, Katharine agrees to a stay of 30 days, possibly the only free days of her entire life. Cameron, through wry, observant Katharine, spins a deliciously gothic tale peopled with appealing and not-so-appealing secondary characters, punctuated by the requisite madness and shot through with intrigue. Though readers may not be surprised by Katharine’s arc, there are more than enough twists and turns along the way to maintain suspense.
By turns funny and poignant, this period mystery is a thoroughgoing delight.(Historical mystery. 12-16)
VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES
Cameron, Sharon. The Dark Unwinding. Scholastic, 2012. 336p.
As an orphaned young woman in Victorian England, Katharine Tulman’s living situation and means of support are precarious. She is forced to reside with her odious Aunt Alice and Alice’s equally unpleasant son,
Cameron has produced a ripping good read with all the drama, intrigue, and romance of a Victorian pot-boiler with mystery, suspense, and hints of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. Nothing is as it originally seems, as the plot twists and turns, building tension. A strong ensemble cast of characters, led by a plucky heroine, makes the reader care what happens next. Fans of historical fiction and period dramas filled with intrigue and ulterior motives will enjoy this book.—Amy Fiske.
August 26-September 7
Interviews, extras, and giveaways!
Follow the tour:
Hannah @ The Book Vortex
Guest Post- Introduction
Marielle @ Book Thoughts by Marielle
Marla @ Starting the Next Chapter
Guest Post: Favorite Real Life Mystery
Amy @ Denim Jacket Librarian
List: 10 Pieces of Advice
Lauren @ The Housework Can Wait
Tirzah @ The Compulsive Reader
Character Interview: Mary
September 1: RELEASE DAY!
Alli @ Magnet 4 Books’ Reviews
Emily @ The Ninja Librarian
Christina @ A Reader of Fictions
Jessica @ Wastepaper Prose
Sara @ Through the Looking Glass
Katie @ Katie’s Book Blog
Character Interview: Lane
Jessica K @ The Cozy Reader
Linda @Missionto Read
Due to a lovely invite to be at SIBA, the launch party for THE DARK UNWINDING has been changed! The new date is:
Monday, August 27, 6:30-8 pm
Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215
Since the official release is September 1, this means that Scholastic has agreed to release the book FIVE DAYS EARLY and only to Parnassus!
And of course we’re still having FOOD, FUN, CELEBRATION and SIGNING!
Anyone and everyone is invited! Come and get a sneak peek or an early copy!
September 7, 2012, 6:30-8:00 pm, at
3900 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215
Food, friends, fun, celebration and of course, book signing!
Anyone and everyone invited!
The cover for THE DARK UNWINDING has gone public! Have a look on my “Books” page.
It’s official! THE DARK UNWINDING will be released into the world on
September 1, 2012!
Pre-orders are now available from Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com) and Amazon! Indiebound and Parnassus Books (Nashville) are coming soon…
…THE DARK UNWINDING, the audio book!
To be read by Fiona Hardingham, super talented and award winning reader of THE SCORPIO RACES.
TURNING CLOCKWISE has a new title, THE DARK UNWINDING
TURNING CLOCKWISE, Book 1 & 2, sold to Russian publisher AST (ACT)/Astral, in a pre-empt!
TURNING CLOCKWISE, Book 1 & 2, sold to Greek publisher Platypus, in a pre-empt!
Scholastic Throws Down for Cameron Debut:
Lisa Sandell at Scholastic bought Sharon Cameron’s debut YA novel, Turning Clockwise, along with an untitled sequel, in a six-figure pre-empt brokered by the Andrea Brown Agency’s Kelly Sonnack. The buzzed-about Frankfurt book, which Sonnack said is a steampunk adventure, was bought by Italian publisher Mondadori (after a heated auction) and was also pre-empted in both France and Germany. In the novel, which Scholastic has scheduled for fall 2012, a girl arrives at the Victorian estate of her supposedly mad uncle to have him committed, only to discover his insanity is not what it seems.
TURNING CLOCKWISE, Book 1 & 2, sold to French publisher Bayard, in a pre-empt!
TURNING CLOCKWISE, Book 1 & 2, sold to Italian publisher Mondadori, at auction!
TURNING CLOCKWISE, Book 1 & 2, sold to German publisher Egmont, under the new Heyne imprint, in a pre-empt!
Offer from Lisa Sandell of Scholastic Press for TURNING CLOCKWISE and an unnamed sequel accepted.