The Dark Unwinding

The Dark Unwinding

by Sharon Cameron


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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. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545327862
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2012
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 631,271
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sharon Cameron's debut novel The Dark Unwinding was awarded the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and was named a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. Sharon is also the author of its sequel, A Spark Unseen; Rook, which was selected as an Indiebound Indie Next List Top Ten selection, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, and a Parents' Choice gold medalist; and The Forgetting, an Autumn 2016 Kids' Indie Next List selection. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee, and you can visit her online at

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The Dark Unwinding 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
KaribbeanIsland1 More than 1 year ago
**5 Stars** MY OVERVIEW: Wow. I am completely blown away by this book. It has gotten the very, very rare 5 star rating from me. I really enjoyed both the main story and the somewhat side story. I feel that the true main story was Katharine coming into her own, and Uncle Tully was more the side story.  PROS: Katharine was fantastic. You could see everything she struggled with; between her “duty” and what she truly wanted to do. Actually, all of the characters were written beautifully. Of course, Lane and Davey were my favorites.  CONS: I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. My one wish was that a death that happened didn’t. But I understand why it did as it is kind-of integral to the series.  MY FINAL THOUGHTS: A book I would highly recommend to any fan of steampunk or history right at the height of the industrial age. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. 
GreatImaginations on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dark Unwinding was definitely one of my favorite books of 2012 so far. I wanted more than anything to give it 5 stars, but in the end, I couldn't. The writing wasn't perfect and I did find it dry in a couple of places. I found it a little too simple as well. I thought there were a couple of places in toe book where things could have been explained better, and I was left confused trying to interpret events for myself. I had to go back and re-read and I hate that more than anything. To me, that's an automatic one star deduction. And it makes me mad that I had to do that. But as far as the negative goes, those are really the only complaints I have. Now I get to talk about the fun stuff. And the one thing that blew me away in this book more than anything were the characters. WOW. WOW. I cannot express in words how much they won me over. Especially Uncle Tully. I mean...I have no words. He is possibly one of the sweetest, most intelligent, and wonderful characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. He jumps off the page. He is so well-developed, and he is REAL. What's that? He's not real? *punches you in the face for saying that* I was so emotionally involved in this book that I was worried I was going to be devastated. The other characters were great too but Uncle Tully was the best. My favorite thing was how he called Katharine "Simon's baby." It just warmed my heart. I do believe Uncle Tully was Autistic. It was never specifically stated (unless I missed it) but implied. And I absolutely LOVED the portrayal of the disorder. I think the author did a FANTASTIC job painting it in a respectful way. Uncle Tully is a character you will absolutely fall for. You WILL NOT feel sorry for him because he is a unique character with wonderful traits. The other characters respect him and treat him as an equal which is as it should be. The story was incredibly entertaining. There is a mystery to solve, but also, Katherine has a decision to make. You will know right away which decision it is going to be, but it is an enormous amount of fun getting there. You will fall in love with the setting which is a character in itself, and you will want to walk this estate and be a part of this story. The Dark Unwinding is the type of book you escape into and do not want to put down. For me, the rest of the world fell away, and it was just me and this great, GREAT book. Like I said earlier, in places the writing was a little too simple for me and I wish a couple of things had been explained better, but it's a memorable book that you will want to add to your personal library immediately. I don't re-read many books but I can easily see myself re-reading this one.I know some are classifying this one as steampunk, but I don't really agree with that. There are a few steampunk elements, but for me it needs more than that to fit the genre. It's more of a historical novel for me, and it certainly isn't fantasy which is another genre classification I am seeing. As for the romance in the book, it was sweet and I loved it. I usually don't care for the romance in YA books, but this one never overpowered the story. It was always about the story first, then the romance, which is just how it should be. Lane as a character is a love interest you can get behind. He is respectful, romantic, and he genuinely cares about the estate and Uncle Tully. He wants what is best for every character in this book, and yet he is still brooding and sexy. He had personality, and whenever her showed up in the book, he lit up the scene. He is one of many reasons you should read this book. I loved almost everything about The Dark Unwinding. I would recommend it to anyone who loves heartfelt characters, an intricate story, an atmospheric setting, and strong world-building.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this author but this book was really hard for me to get into, I just read it because I was sure it would get better. The climax of the story was quick and bitter sweet, more bitter. And the end... I felt like I deserved better after struggling through the story. I enjoyed Katharine's character but honesty the whole book left me feeling sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Amazing creative adventure with plenty of twists and turns keeping the reader hungry for more. Great character development, something I critique harshly, and just beautifully written! Discription of this book had me thinking it was something else entirely but to my delight it was more than I could have asked for. Buying the second one now! Going on my list of favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story and Cameron's style.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Katharine Tullman does not want to send her uncle to an asylum anymore than she wants to please her horrible aunt by doing so. Unfortunately Katharine very rarely gets to do anything near what she wants–not if she ever hopes to secure even the smallest bit of independence for herself. When Katharine arrives at her uncle’s estate she soon realizes that dealing with her uncle is not going to be as cut and dry as she had hoped. Instead of a lunatic she finds her uncle is an incredibly gifted but eccentric inventor. Instead of a ramshackle estate near ruin she finds a village filled with workers rescued from London workhouses. As Katharine explores the estate and learns more about her uncle, matters become more complicated as she is taken in my a handsome apprentice and an ambitious student. Soon, she realizes she is starting to care about her uncle and his household more than she can afford to given rising questions of her own future. And her own sanity. With mysteries all around her and far more at stake than she can imagine, Katharine will have to decide who to trust and who to protect in The Dark Unwinding (2012) by Sharon Cameron. The Dark Unwinding is Cameron’s first novel. In a delightful blend of suspense, steampunk and historical drama, Cameron has created a delightful world with compelling characters and a plot filled with twists and excitements. The story perfectly captures the wonder of Uncle Tullman’s estate and the urgency felt by everyone who wants to keep it safe. The question of Katharine’s own sanity and the mysteries surrounding the estate add another satisfying dimension to the story. Best of all Cameron’s writing is wonderful throughout giving each character a unique voice and bringing them to life. The beautiful prose elevates what could have been a sensational action story into something more as Katharine is forced to confront of her own principles and grow as a character as her priorities (and loyalties) change. The Dark Unwinding is a marvelous book that will linger with readers. The undercurrent of suspense and mystery make it a perfect read for a dark winter night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
The Dark Unwinding is a book that I find difficult to classify because of how well it blends different genres – there’s some steampunk, a bit of a historical fiction, and a healthy dose of mystery. Add just a dash of romance and you have a book that surprised me with how much I loved it (to pieces)! Like Katharine, I was unsure of what to expect when I began The Dark Unwinding. I hadn’t heard of it until it showed up in my mailbox, but I grew to love her uncle’s English estate and all the characters as much as she did too. Reasons to Read: 1. Creepy, spine-tingling scenes from beginning to end: The first chapter of The Dark Unwinding was likely my favourite of the whole book. I was instantly drawn in to the story, and my interest was piqued that I couldn’t put it down after reading those first few pages. Sharon Cameron writes creepy scenes SO WELL with just enough mystery to leave both Katharine and the reader guessing along the way. But the spine-tingling factor here absolutely cannot be ignored, and I loved that it continued throughout the whole book. There were a few scenes I felt like I was physically shuddering I was so bizarrely freaked out! 2. Katharine’s open-mind and brave heart: All that Katharine knows is that she needs to send her lunatic uncle off to an asylum. Her deceased father’s brother, whom she’s never met, and she assumes it should be fairly straightforward. But she’s so caught off guard and she quickly realized that her uncle isn’t crazy at all. He’s different, but she spends so much time getting to know him and eventually finds more good in him than most people will ever find in others. This is a fascinating perspective of how we perceive concepts like intelligence and the way a human mind works. It was very thoughtful, and very convincing. I really appreciated the way Sharon portrayed Katharine and her uncle in this situation. 3. Struggling with mysteries: Katharine has a number of puzzles to work out, as she’s left mostly in the dark and on her own to put the pieces together and uncover the truth. There are so many levels and issues to the plot in this aspect, and it has this old-school feel of a good mystery novel too.  The romance here was also AMAZING. If you enjoy romantic tension as much as I do, and the build up to it – OH, THE ANTICIPATION!! – then definitely give The Dark Unwinding a chance. I couldn’t get enough of the romance because of that. I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development in the minor characters because that was the one area I felt was lacking. The villain felt very one-dimensional to me, and it felt like a bit of a letdown to have so much mystery build to very little. And the cast of secondary characters could have stood from a bit more time in the book to really flesh them out more than they actually were. Review copy received from Scholastic Canada; no other compensation was received.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful job sharon cameron. If you write more books i cant waot to read them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absoloutly wonderful
TNT7498 More than 1 year ago
Bought this book as a BN recommendation and I was hooked! Couldn't put it down and then immediately ordered the second book upon completing it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Book One of the The Dark Unwinding series Publisher: Scholastic Publication Date: August 27, 2012 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the author Official Summary: 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. What I Liked: Once upon a time, a girl won an ARC of this book from the author. She hadn't been blogging and reviewing books, so she didn't really feel the need to read the book immediately. She read bits of it, skimming the book, and the ending, and was so confused. She hated the ending so much, she waited an entire year to pick this book up again. Of course, her reason for picking it up again was because of this tour. It was an excellent excuse to FORCE herself to read it. Anyway. That's my sad story with this book. I am seriously KICKING myself for doing all of that - skimming, reading the end, not actually reading the entire book - because this book was AMAZING. I love historical fiction books, and this one is a really great historical fiction book. It's got a bit of steampunk in it, which I loved. Katharine (love how Cameron spells her name!) is charged by her aunt to go inspect the mental health and state of mind of Katharine's uncle. Uncle Tully is the heir of the family fortune, and greedy Aunt Alice wants to make sure that HER son, the next in line to receive the fortune, gets the fortune. When Katharine arrives, she finds a slightly crazy old man with a child-like but genius mind. Eventually she grows to really care for her uncle. She comes to realize that she cannot let Aunt Alice take Uncle Tully away from his home, from building his machines and gadgets. But, of course, something sinister lurks in London... or someone. Someone is poisoning Katharine, yet she doesn't know it. Time is running out to save Uncle Tully, save the estate, and save herself. Sounds exciting, yes? I love the cadence of this book. You know how some books jump right into the whole you-are-the-chosen-one, go-save-the-world thing? This book doesn't go there. Instead, Cameron walks us through life in the Lower and Upper Villages. She lets Katharine get close to Uncle Tully and Mary and Lane and Davy. Cameron slips in clues and hints and the occasional strange happenstance, but the majority of the book is spent getting to know the world of Uncle Tully. This is absolutely necessary, in order for Katharine to understand Uncle Tully, and Lane's over-protectiveness of him, and for her to understand that she cannot make Uncle Tully go to an asylum. Everything that Cameron does, or places, in this book, is perfect. Nothing is out of place in the plot. The character development in Katharine is huge. She goes from not sure of herself and her decisions, to running around like a crazy person, willing to do things despite the consequences. There is one decision that she might have made, that Lane would have hated... I couldn't believe that she might have done that! It was a super selfless decision, and I'm glad that she didn't have to do it. The historical aspect of this novel is fantastic! Cameron did an excellent job with her research. Everything, down to the par about property entailment, given names, and etiquette were perfectly constructed in this book! I love historical fiction, and one of the reasons being that authors recreate a time once present. Cameron did a fine job of this! Romance... there is a romance aspect in this book. It's not a large or overwhelming part of the book, which is really nice. The plot and action of the story is more important than the romance. And then, this book is set in the Victorian era (I believe it's the Victorian era), so the romance can't be overpowering. Unless we're talking adult historical romance. Different story! The ending of this book is very bittersweet! When I first "read" this book, that was what I hated about this book - the ending. I thought that this book was a standalone. Of course, hearing about A Spark Unseen made me change my mind! So, it's a bittersweet ending, but it's not the end... yet. What I Did Not Like: Like I said before, the ending. I don't think it was completely necessary to end this book like that. Maybe begin the next book with that departure... but whatever, because I have the second book, and I've read it, and YAY for A Spark Unseen! Would I Recommend It: DEFINITELY! Especially to all historical fiction lovers. I can see why this book got nominated for so many awards and honors... it's great! An amazing book! Rating: 4 stars. Definitely one of my favorite Young Adult historical fiction novels of all time! I'm sorry I waited so long to read the entire book.
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ForThisMoment More than 1 year ago
This book takes place in the age of Regency England, but the connection stops there. This book is so much more than that. Katherine creates connections with her "crazy" uncle and his world. Her uncle is not crazy at all, he is somewhat mentally challenged using today's logic. This book is full of twists and turns, to the point you truly cannot expect what is going to happen. There are clues as to what happens, which at the end you have a light bulb moment, but this book is completely unpredictable. My favorite part of the novel is when Katherine builds relationships with the "servants" that live at her uncles manor, as well as her uncle, which is something that her Aunt Alice would never approve of. This book is somewhat of a steampunk novel, but it also contains a lot of darkness to it. Its one giant mystery where the more you read, the more engrossed in the novel you become.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lovelovelove this book and uncle tully. Brilliant guy with disorder but i want to know what happens with lane and katharine!!
pagese More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what called to me more, the fact that this is set in regency England or that the book seemed to have a steampunk feel to it. Either way, I was eager to give it a shot. Katharine proved to me a great lead character. I think she has an hard place in life. She's at the mercy of her Aunt and believes she has no other way out but to take the abuse handed to her. When she's forced to her uncle's estate to see to his affairs, she begins to see that there are worse things than being tossed out of her aunt's house. She begins to question what's more important, her own perceived shot at happiness. Or is the happiness and well being of an entire town worth the possibility of a lifetime of just one's own suffering. What Katharine discovers among her uncle's estate is sometimes confusing. A house that has endless corridors and rooms, a workshop that consists of gadgets that I couldn't even being to understand mixed in with a group of people that will stop at nothing to make sure their benefactor stays right were he is. But, not everybody is manipulating Katharine in the ways that she thinks. Someone on the estate sees power among the inventions tucked away on the farm and think Katharine is the perfect tool to get what they wants. I really enjoyed the plot and cast of characters. There were times the story dragged a little and the details got a little fuzzy. But, the story was past paced and interesting. I wondered until the very end of Katherine would have the guts to stand up for her uncle and all that he built. I truly loved her uncle and felt that she did as well. I didn't think in the end that she could take away all the he had done. I was happy that the story had a generally happy ending. It didn't end exactly the way that I had hoped. It does have an open ending leaving room for a sequel. I would like to see were the character go, so I hope there is one!
book-babe-311 More than 1 year ago
I was so fortunate to win this book on goodreads. Not only has it been one of my favorite books won on this site but it has been one of the top YA books I have read in 2012. Full of fun character's that you can't help but falling in love with. Full of adventures and mysteries that at times keep you on the edge of your seat. Even at the end I was surprised at what happened to the heroine that is the main character. If you would love a thrilling history mystery with a victorian styling then this book is for you! I know I will keep this book and read it again sometime. I will also recommend it to all my fellow book buddies! Thanks again Scholastic & goodreads!
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
Review: "The Dark Unwinding" by Sharon Cameron was a wonderful YA read. It was full of the 'supernatural psychology'...adding some weird evil aunts, children, a whole clockwork of magical figures and you only come out with some kind of thrilling adventure that can really be enjoyed by the teens. This novel will definitely linger with you long after the read. You will also find "The Dark Unwinding" a fun read...the characters are really off the chart 'good.' Be ready to be caught up in it all...from drama, humor, mystery, romance and a touch of darkness...that I haven't really determined if it's Gothic, or somewhat ...a Steampunk adventure. You will be left to determine that as you read this excellent novel "The Dark Unwinding." If you are looking for a fantastic storyline you have come to the right place...for "The Dark Unwinding" will have it all for you and YES, I would recommend this novel as a excellent read.
Missy_Frye More than 1 year ago
If I rated this book on the characters of Uncle Tully and Davy, it would get five stars. However... First, let me say that I loved, Loved, LOVED the characters in this novel. Uncle Tully is a great example of the brilliance that often accompanies autism (though that condition was never mentioned in the book). He's quirky, lovable and achingly real. Davy won my heart quite early and never let it go. Children tend to do that. Though the other characters leaned toward cliché they possessed just enough originality to be redeemed. The story is lovely. Katherine is dispatched to the estate that holds her livelihood in its hands, only to discover wonders and kindness. Of course this makes her mission more difficult. The plot was predictable. From the beginning I guessed what Katherine would do. I knew who to trust and distrust. There were a few minor surprises and heartaches along the way. Mentioning them would spoil the book for those of you wanting to read it. It is a good book, and I do recommend it, however you shouldn't expect to be wowed.