Book reviews

Book review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Title- The Doll Factory
AuthorElizabeth Macneal
Publisher- Pan Macmillan India
Format- Paperback
Pages- 336
Genre- Historical Fiction
Publication date- 2 May 2019

Book blurb:

‘A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession’ Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession. London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

Book review:

“She searches for a house – but the sun from the street has blinded her now that she stumbles into gloom, and the crack against the back of her head takes her unawares”

Dark, poignant and extraordinarily spine chilling historical fiction. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is a tale of obsession and art set in 1851 Victorian London.

The twin sisters Iris and Rose works at greedy and conceited Mrs Salter’s Doll Emporium. When Iris is asked to be a model for Louise she dreams to escape from her ordinary life and aspires to become an artist.

Meanwhile, Silas a deprived rare collector is more obsessive to achieve his most prized possession.

“He tucks the little beast into his coat and leaves the park. He has done it for Iris and she ought to be pleased”

The Urchin Albie who longs for his full set of teeth had his own different character in the book.

Layered with multiple themes this book gave me all the creepy and cringy vibes. There is pinch of feminism that turned the book even more exquisite. Contradictions and societal norms of Victorian life is remarkably depicted.

I had so many mixed feelings after the read. I wanted to read more about Iris, her world and her life. End could have been extended a little bit more but the whole victorian environment and all the vibes gave me an amazing reading experience.

Trigger warning: Animal cruelty and taxidermy that can be disturbing.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan India for sending this review copy over my place.🌻

Ratings- ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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