The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"In 1850s London, the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and, among the crowd watching the dazzling spectacle, two people meet by happenstance. For Iris, an arrestingly attractive aspiring artist, it is a brief and forgettable moment but for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by all things strange and beautiful, the 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 beyond her wildest dreams--but she has no idea that evil is waiting in the shadows. Silas has only thought of one thing since that chance meeting, and his obsession is darkening by the day."
Publisher: New York :, Emily Bestler Books, Atria,, 2019.
Edition: First Emily Bestler BooksAtria Books hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781982106768
Branch Call Number: FIC MACN
Characteristics: 362 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Ann Bauer Nichols
Jan 31, 2020

Did not finish. Victorian squalor and weirdness.

Jan 17, 2020

I read 30 pgs and then started to skim many more, but I just could not discern any story line. The writing could have been done just as well as many in my last writing class, and I did not want to know any of the characters better. Surely someone will like this book more, so I took pity on it and gave it two stars instead of only one.

Jan 07, 2020

This thriller is pure entertainment. There is not much to learn about the Pre-Raphaelites or Victorian England although the struggles faced by women in these times are well presented.

Dec 27, 2019

Victorian Gothic. A taxidermist becomes obsessed with a young painter.

Dec 09, 2019

A fun historical fiction thriller. Sometimes predictable, but enjoyable. I can see a BBC limited series!!!

Oct 23, 2019

I found this to be a sad reworking of "The Collector" by John Fowles in the sixties.

Nicr Sep 20, 2019

London 1850 in all its grime and poverty set against the rising in Hyde Park of the magnificent Crystal Palace. Two narratives on a collision course: Iris, 21-year-old doll painter and would-be artist; and Silas, nicknamed Cadaver, a fastidious and solitary taxidermist spending his days stuffing vermin while dreaming of glory--and Iris. Enter the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who, of course, want the tall, red-haired Iris to sit for them. A page-turner that is essentially John Fowles' The Collector in an historical setting.

Aug 06, 2019

I love neo-Victorian historical fiction and I love novels about art and artists, so I fell on The Doll Factory with cries of glee. And what a good read it is, offering up everything readers like me crave: a seedy, seamy and richly described London setting, a plucky heroine determined to defy convention and become an artist, a full cast of interesting characters, ranging from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to creepy Dickensian bad-guys and heart-rending Dickensian urchins.

While I could have lived without the thriller aspect of the story, it was well-written for those that like that kind of thing. All in all, a recommended read for lovers of historical fiction.

Jul 21, 2019

This is a debut novel by author Elizabeth Macneal. I really enjoyed the Victorian Gothic aspect of this novel. Macneal does an amazing job capturing the atmosphere of Victorian London. This book was both beautiful and extremely dark at the same time.

The characters are well written and diverse. The plot, however, moves at a crawling pace. I had a difficult time getting in to it. I actually had to force myself to even continue to read. It wasn't until the last quarter of the novel did my interest even get peaked, and then I was left in a whirlwind ending and wishing I had been given more.

If you are a fan of art, thrillers, Gothic or Victorian era novels then give this a read. Though it was a 3 star read for me, I have a feeling I am the minority and that there are a ton of readers who will love this!

I do look forward to reading more books from Elizabeth Macneal, as her writing is marvelous and the way she transports readers to the setting is magical.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me an advanced copy to read and give my honest review.

Happy Reading!


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