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The Doll Factory: A Novel

The Doll Factory: A Novel


The Doll Factory: A Novel

evaluări:
4/5 (37 evaluări)
Lungime:
10 hours
Lansat:
Aug 13, 2019
ISBN:
9781508296096
Format:
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Descriere

In this "sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession" (Paula Hawkins, best-selling author of The Girl on the Train), a beautiful young woman aspires to be an artist, while a man’s dark obsession may destroy her world forever.

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.

"A [pause-resisting] psychological thriller" (Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist) that will haunt you long after you finish it, The Doll Factory is perfect for fans of The Alienist, Drood, and The Historian.

Lansat:
Aug 13, 2019
ISBN:
9781508296096
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

Born in Scotland, Elizabeth Macneal is a writer and potter based in London. The Doll Factory, Elizabeth’s debut novel, was an international bestseller, has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and has been optioned for a major television series. It won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018. Circus of Wonders is her second novel. Visit her online at ElizabethMacneal.com, on Twitter @AsMacneal, or on Instagram @ElizabethMacneal.

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  • (5/5)
    Excellent book, all the elements are here: a strong heroine, a dashing suitor, a wicked nemesis. The story is engaging and the writing strong and metaphor rich without being pompous.
  • (5/5)
    Skilled writing. Metaphor rich and true to the era. Well read also. A writer’s reay!
  • (4/5)
    I have to admit the style distracted me at first but soon drew me into the world of Victorian London. The perfectly assembled cast delivers a tale of love, obsession, and atmospheric horror. The fair Iris who wishes to better her situation; her poor embittered sister, Rose; the exuberant Albie; the questionable love interest in Louis; and the infatuated Silas. I couldn’t help thinking of undertones of John Fowles ‘The Collector’ although if that in any way gave inspiration to this novel the author has enriched a basic idea and made it her own. Also, I think the comparison to various other titles is a pity as people like John Fowles are literary noteworthies (regardless of whether you like them) which promotes the book to a level difficult to attain. Some books are simply enjoyable. I’m uncertain whether to consider some parts of the story entirely historically accurate but the tone suffices to transport the reader into another era. The only real downside for me is that I was expecting something perhaps a little more gothic. Still, a fabulous debut.
  • (5/5)
    Well now, this is something quite special. There's a lot of buzz around this book and rightly so. I thought it was absolutely delicious.The story revolves primarily around two characters: Iris and Silas. Iris works at Mrs Salter's Doll Emporium, painting dolls' faces and secretly yearning to be a painter in her own right. Silas owns Silas Reed's Shop of Curiosities Antique and New. Honestly, if the shop names alone don't pique your interest I don't know what will. Silas is a rather disturbing young man with his shop full of stuffed creatures. He's a collector and when he becomes a little too interested in Iris it seems that she'd better watch her back.This is Victorian fiction at its best. I'm finding myself more and more interested in the era and the very eclectic feel of it. Iris finds herself being asked to model for one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Louis Frost, and I really loved seeing her transformation from a girl who had little future to one who had the brightest of possibilities.Make no mistake about it, this is a novel with darkness at its core, but it's also so joyous in places and so uplifting. The author has combined fact (we know the PRB existed, the Great Exhibition takes place within the story) with fiction (Louis Frost is an invention) brilliantly and seamlessly.From the first page, when Silas is stuffing a dove and making up a back story of attacking cress sellers for it, this book took me on a wonderful journey through Victorian London. "'There! he exclaims, leaning back and pushing his hair out of his eyes. 'And perhaps this'll teach you a lesson for knocking that bunch of greens out of that little girl's arms.'"When Iris finds herself embedded into the group of artists she is able to paint like she never has before. She's a very strong woman and it was wonderful to see her rise up from her predicted future and become even stronger. I loved this passage from when she is having her first lesson with Louis and she's coming alive in her new world:"She glances at the colours before her - emerald green, ultramarine, madder and gamboge. It is like being handed a toffee pudding after months of gruel."The title of this book is very clever and the meaning only really struck me when I'd finished reading. The main characters are fascinating and so well-drawn (one feisty, one creepy) but there is a cast of supporting characters that flesh out the story perfectly and Macneal's descriptions of them are just fabulous.The Doll Factory is absolutely fantastic. I savoured every word, part of me wanting it to last forever and the other part wanting to know what was going to happen. It's evocative and atmospheric, the smells and sounds of the city come through in the writing, and I was fully immersed in the story. Wowee, it's a stunner!
  • (5/5)
    What an amazing read this was! I'm not sure what I expected going into it, but I know I did not get anything that I could have imagined. This book took me completely by surprise and pulled me right into the story. The author deftly sets the historical period through her writing and creates really dimensional characters. I don't think I have ever read a book in which I was completely endeared by a character, reveling in the quirks and imagination given by the author, only to have the character so very slowly devolve into a complete monster. This book was so very dark and so very creepy and I really loved every word of it. Warning: there are several disturbing and graphic animal scenes throughout the book. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in advance of publication and my opinion is my own.
  • (5/5)
    The Crystal Palace was built to house the first International trade fair. Championed by Prince Albert, the exhibition hall was a showcase of the Industrial Age's newest inventions. The art displays impacted Victorian taste and inspired an interest in Japanese and Moorish art. Objects included the rare, like the Kooh-N-Nor diamond, and the commonplace, like three Kentucky-made bed quilts. Then there were the curiosities of which the Victorians were so enamored. Fourteen taxidermists had displays like stuffed kittens sitting at a table having tea.The Crystal Palace is at the center of Elizabeth Macneal's novel The Doll Factory. It is Dickensian in its sweep of characters. There are the enterprising street urchins Albie and his sister, children who take up any work to provide for themselves--including prostitution and providing dead animals to the taxidermist Silas Reed. Silas, damaged, unloved and unloveable, is one of the most interesting and chilling villains, more complicated than Bill Sykes and less self-aware than Uriah Heap. Silas is most drawn to curiosities, things both grotesque and lovely. Silas is fixated on the girl Iris, whose collar bone was broken at birth, leaving her with a marred beauty. Iris works painting porcelain doll faces with her sister Rose. Iris longs to escape the drudgery of her work, secretly painting with dreams of being an artist. Rose's gorgeous beauty was ruined by smallpox, leaving her bitter. Albie earns a bit by sewing simple skirts for the dolls.And into this mix we have Louis Frost, a bohemian artist in the new renegade school of art called the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood. Louis needs a model for his painting. Iris longs to escape the drudgery of doll faces, secretly painting with dreams of being an artist. A pact is made: Iris will model for Louis and he will teach her to paint. Iris blossoms under Louis's tutelage. But a jealous Silas fantasizes she really loves him. We are taken into a horrifying descent into Silas's sick world, with a Gothic plot twist, and a climactic ending.I loved this journey! As a devotee of Victorian Age literature and art, and for the page-turning thriller ending, it was perfect. I was given access to a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
  • (3/5)
    3.5 starsI found this to be a very good debut novel, although the title is something of a misnomer.Set in the Victorian era, this is a gothic thriller that includes a bit of romance, historical fiction and a love of art.The characters are struggling to survive in 1850’s England. Rose and Iris, twin sisters who work in a doll shop, have big dreams for their future. Rose wants to open her own shop and Iris wants to become an artist. The only thing that holds them back is a lack of funds to get started and their troubled relationship.A young boy named Albie frequents the shop, bringing hand-made doll clothes to sell. Albie is struggling to afford dental care for himself and to help his older sister out of a life of prostitution. Albie also makes a few coins by bringing dead animals to a taxidermist named Silas. Silas is also acquainted with some young artists that occasionally purchase stuffed animals to use as models for their paintings. A seemingly insignificant meeting between Iris and Silas sets off a horrific chain of events, that only Albie seems able to stop.This is one story that is not for the faint of heart. In addition to details of taxidermy, there is a some animal cruelty, stalking and references to violence. This is a dark story that seems to end well while leaving much to the reader’s imagination.Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books for allowing me to read an advance copy and give an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is set in Victorian London at the time of the Great Exhibition. A shopgirl, Iris wants to make her place with aspirations as an artist. These aspirations are unachievable to a girl in her place in the world. A taxidermist, Silas, has taken a liking to her and has her in his sights. Iris currently works with her twin sister Rose in Mrs. Salter's Doll Emporium doing sewing and painting of doll faces. Rose contracted smallpox while Iris did not thus Rose to have scars on her face that keeps her from wanting to go out and do things even meeting a man. So to her, her life consists of staying where she is at whereas Iris wants to become a painter.Silas, a misfit whose life consists of stuffed animals, sometimes not very well. He gets his animals from an orphan, Albie. He has brought a two-headed dog to Silas that he wants to enter into the Royal Acadamy. His attraction to Iris has taken to him stalking her.Iris happens to meet Louis, he wants her to model for him and she wants him to teach her how to become a painter, thus begins a friendship that turns into an affair. She does eventually paint a picture that is entered at the Royal Academy along with a few by Louis. She does not know though the dangers that confront her so she is basically unawares when her life is in danger from Silas and she walks right into a trap.This book gives a reader into the life of Victorian London, the artist's life, the mean streets of London, the harshness of the people on the streets. This book is a gothic thriller with beautiful, graphic if not gruesome descriptions of life in Victorian London. The characters of Rose, Iris, Albie, Louis, and even Silas were well written. I almost felt sorry for Silas, almost, when reading about his earlier life with his childhood friend Flick. I love a good thriller and this one was a pleasure to read! Read it in a few sittings!
  • (4/5)
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own. The Doll Factory By: Elizabeth Macneal*REVIEW* ????When I saw the cover of The Doll Factory, I immediately thought of The Bell Jar. It's just an odd thought I had because of the cover art. I'm not going to discuss the plot, you just have to read it, rather I'm interested in the emotional impact. This story is set in 19th century London, a time period I'm very glad I wasn't born into. Life was an atrocity for women and the poor, full of grime, sub human living conditions and crushing hopelessness. The dream of escape was a diamond dangling always and forever out of reach. This story chronicles the daily struggles of these people, particularly women and artists. In addition, the art world of the time period is accessed. All of this has obviously been greatly researched because the author renders the time and place in a vivid picture. The characters here are simply trying to survive through misfortune and maybe a bit of good fortune. It's a dark story, even though at first it might not seem that way. The obsessive nature and madness of one in particular is sharp, sinister and menacing. If you juxtapose this against another who is harmless, basic and good hearted in the face of adversity, what might happen? Which characteristic prevails-madness or goodness? It's a story with an underlying subtlety of dark versus light. I felt like the atmosphere had a very macabre and abysmal presence building to the end. We all know that people are capable of really anything. It's thought provoking and chilling. Honestly, it becomes eerily scary the further you read and stays with you. The Doll Factory is definitely a memorable read!
  • (3/5)
    A Haunting, Terrorizing dream-like Dickenesque book. Elizabeth Macneals’s debut novel is set in the squalor, lust and dirt-filled alleys of the Victorian era. I was drawn to this novel just by the photo alone. It is stunning. It gave away nothing of the premise of the novel and I really enjoyed finding out that it wasn’t as beautiful inside as it was outside. The crack, on the bell jar, I simply didn’t see.

    Iris dreams of art, creating it, imagining it and living with paint and charcoal soaked into her skin. Iris’s life is far from the world she sees through her artistic soul. It is dark, colorless and filled with the dreariness that comes from being poor in London. Menaces beyond her control lurk in the alley’s and storefronts just biding their time to jump out and ruin her.
    
Iris has a twin, who until she caught the influenza was, beautiful, loved and wanted, the opposite of Iris who was always nagged by her mother, made fun of because of her stature and deformities. Both Iris and her sister work in a doll factory creating faces, dressing and the mundane tasks of getting them ready so that their boss who lives in a haze of drugs, can sell the dolls.

    The characters in this novel are wide in range of peculiarities, Albie a street urchin was my favorite. Read the book and you will see why. The Antagonist, Silas, well, I am not going to even ruin it for you, again, read the book.

    Now the reality of the review: For a debut novel, it has a few pages where you pause wondering what the author was thinking about when she was writing because it is not always clear, not always in fit with the rest of the book. That is the way sometimes with first-time writers. On the whole, this story is fantastic. I just wish it wasn’t so filled with whorehouses, sexual desires and all that goes with those realities of a Gothic novel. 

For this, I give the book 3.5 stars. I can’t recommend this to all my readers knowing full well that some of them are super sensitive when it comes to sex and violence. Yet, I enjoyed the premise of the story, the descriptive twists and turns, and expectations that happen in this novel.

    Thank you, Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity of reading this debut in lieu of my honest opinion.