The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
In an alternate early America, Giuseppe is a street musician working for the harsh Stephano who uses young boys as slave labor. Giuseppe dreams of freedom and sailing back to his family in Italy. Frederick is an apprentice to a clockmaker. He was orphaned at a young age, and finds it hard to trust people. Hannah works as a made in a hotel to support their family, since her father fell ill. As the three youngsters meet, they soon discover their friendships hold the key to their futures.
Giuseppe is an Oliver Twist-like character. He has a good heart and a talent for violin playing. He hopes the green violin that he found will help him earn enough to travel back to Italy. Meanwhile, Frederick is working on his final project to become a journeyman – an automaton. But his remaining problem is piecing together a head. When Hannah is hired by the rich and eccentric Mrs. Pomeroy, she thinks her troubles may be behind her. Especially, when she overhears a rumor about a hidden treasure in the hotel.
The story rotates from each of the three children’s point of views. Each character pulls the reader into the story, and their struggles all the more poignant. Before reading this, I thought the story would be about the automaton. Instead, the Clockwork Three refers to the friendships between the children and how their lives interconnect like the workings of a clock. Engaging and heartwarming, this fantasy story is full of drama, mystery, suspense, and danger.