The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby Sometime around the turn of the last century, in an east coast town something like Boston, three children meet. Giuseppe is a street busker, sold by his uncle to a cruel padrone who takes his earnings and doesn’t feed him if he doesn’t make enough. Frederick is a clockmaker’s apprentice, rescued from the harsh orphanage factory. Hannah is a maid at the hotel where her father was a stonemason before his stroke. All have desperate hopes – Giuseppe to return to Italy and find his sister and brother, Frederick to make a clockwork automaton and become a full journeyman, and Hannah for her father to get well enough to work so that she no longer has to support the family. There is a mysterious and wealthy fortune-teller, Madame Pomeroy, rumored to travel with a tiger, who employs Hannah when she is almost fired. There is a search for treasure left by a wealthy former resident of the hotel, and just a hint of magic. Soon, the three children realize that only by working together can they solve their problems. There were a few moments where the intended easy meshing of clockwork plot pieces seemed a little contrived, but all in all, this is a lovely and engrossing effort.
Crossposted to http://sapphireone.livejournal.com and http://library-mama.dreamwidth.org .