The Toymakers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

Pure magic from start to finish!
1906, and 15 year-old Cathy Wray is pregnant, her baby under threat. Her parents can't abide the shame so before she starts showing they're planning to send her away...discreetly. But when Cathy feels the fluttering of a tiny heart inside her she knows she can't let that happen. But where is she to go? When she sees a newspaper ad for staff at Papa Jack's Toy Emporium, appealing for the lost and child-like, it appeals to her and she turns up on opening night hoping she's found a safe haven.
And she has. Very quickly this place of wonder and magic becomes her home. As soon as Papa Jack's eldest son Kaspar realises her...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

The Toymakers is made of equal parts magic and heartbreak. You can't help but be absorbed into the world of the emporium and feel like you are their watching their lives and events unfold,

The Toymakers not only make you get to know the characters of the emporium but become their family, feeling everything that happens to them. You see the magic of the emporium through the eyes of Cathy for the first time, paper forests, patchwork dogs that feel alive and of course the Wendy house.

The relationships in the Toymakers will make you fall in love then crush your heart and then fall in love again!

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a historical fiction with a...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. Young Cathy Wray finds herself pregnant, much to her parents shame as she is unmarried. Her parents have arranged for her to go into a mum and baby home till after the birst, from where her baby will be adopted. Before that can happen Cathy sees a staff wanted advert for Papa Jack's Emporium in London and quickly plans to make the journey.

Papa Jack runs the emporium with the help of his housekeeper and his sons, Emil and Kaspar. Papa Jack's is a magical place where people forget their worries and remember the pleasure and innocence of their childhood. However the emporium opens at the first frost of winter and closes shortly after Christmas. At first...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Where to start? There are so many layers to this story. Fairy tales and fables. Magic and the mundane. Light and shadows. Sibling rivalry (to its extreme!). Birth and death. PTSD and mental health. Charity and kindness. And at the heart of it, Papa Jack and his Emporium.

The Toymakers will take you back to your childhood, to the sights and sounds and smells, evoking memories and comfort and safety. To a time of innocence and wonder. Papa Jack's experiences taught him the truth which we get to see when he 'shows' Cathy Wray (I felt it keenly at the time but it's fading now which makes me feel sad) and his sons, Kaspar and Emil need to understand this truth...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
a Magical and whimsical book, I was enchanted from the very first page and I didn't want it to end.
Was this review helpful?

Cathy is in a predicament. She’s unmarried and pregnant. To run from the shame that awaits her she runs away to Papa Jack’s Emporium to make a new start for herself. The Emporium holds many secrets within its walls, will surely keep Cathy’s too?

Cathy soon learns of the wonder and magic that Papa Jack and his sons Kaspar and Emil weave into their toys. From the toy soldiers that fight the Long War to the patchwork animals that you fall in love with.

This story is incredibly rich and full of imagination that will take you into another world. I became immersed in Cathy’s story and quickly grew to love Kaspar and Papa Jack.

Dinsdale has written in such an eloquent way that you actually...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

The Emporium is a toy shop in London, on a mews off Regents Street. It opens each year with the first frost and closes when the snowdrops bloom. If that makes it sound like a place of poetry and magic, of mystery and joy then, yes, it is. It is run by Jekabs Godman, known as Papa Jack, an émigré from Eastern Europe and his sons Kaspar and Emil and creates the kind of toys which every child would dream of having. Things that glitter and fly, that grow and love you back: toys which are as full of magic and imagination as a child's mind. Into this world comes Cathy Wray, just 16 years old and pregnant, who takes a job for the season in her efforts to escape her family's plans to...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
This was a delightful book. I felt like a child again remembering the magic of childhood. Very clever concept that spans several generations. Some great characters that it was very easy to identify with. I felt bereft when it was finished but enjoyed the journey.
Was this review helpful?

Absolutely incredible!!

2 years ago I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and was absolutely blown away. I’d never read a book like it and thought I never would again. Until I was granted a review copy of The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale.

This book is simply stunning! I finished it at 1am this morning and I’m ready to read it again already! A magical fairytale of children’s toys, love, family, war, rivalry and imagination. The tag line promises something intriguing and magical but I had no idea just how much I would fall in love with this book.

The characters are brilliant. I loved them all (well, most of them) and felt like I knew them. I could imagine being there with them and...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
2018 02 08	The Toymakers, Robert Dinsdale, Penguin Random House
I am reviewing this book for Robert Dinsdale, Penguin Random House, and NetGalley who gave me a copy of their book for an honest review.
This touches on a lot of modern day topics but told in a fantasy way. Excellent
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautifully told story. Pregnant Cathy runs away and finds the Emporium. It is a magical shop where toys come alive. I completely lost myself in Dinsdale's world and didn't want the story to end. Now off to get myself a patchwork dog!
Was this review helpful?

Fantasy in times of war, life-long love, magic toys, new life and life loss... all of this you'll find in this story... all this you find in the Emporium.

It was heartbreakingly beautiful!!

I've no way to describe all the feelings this book made me go through, it gave me wonder, despair, sadness, happiness, wonder again!

Few books have made me feel tearfully grateful is over the way it is... and as happy as this one did.

This book talks about harsh topics such as teen pregnancy, war atrocities, post-war trauma... but at the same time introduces them to you in a way that's not as horrible as it is in our minds. The author really told the story through a veil of fantasy...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
I was a bit wary about another book with magic in it, but persevered and found that it was not overly intrusive and that the book was well written and dealt with some difficult ideas well.

However I think it went downhill from about 1917 and became very unbelievable and depressing as the "magic" went too far. Difficult to say more without spoilers.

It was briefly revived towards the end, but I just thought that it could have been handled differently and better and earned more stars.
Was this review helpful?

Cathy runs away from home after finding out she is pregnant. She goes to London to hide away until her child is born. She finds Papa Jack's emporium in an advert and goes there to find a place to stay and a job to make money. Papa Jack gives her a job and she soon settles into a new way of life finding comfort talking to her unborn baby. She notices Papa Jack's two sons, Emil and his older brother Kaspar. They are also toy makers in the shop. Kaspar and Cathy start to grow closer together after they are caught up in the magic of the emporium. Once it comes to the time when no more toys needs to be made Cathy worries about where she will have her baby. She is saved by Kaspar and...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest and independent review.

I absolutely loved this book! The language was so descriptive, imaginative and magical that I felt the moment the doors of the Emporium opened, at the first frost, I was really there walking up the aisles. So many times throughout the book, I wished the Emporium was real so I could pay a visit.

As well as being heartwarming, I found parts of the story heartbreaking and emotional. The journey covers the war years and a lead character, Kasper, goes to war which affects him, and in turn his family, for years after.

I would describe this book as a bit like 'Toy Story' for grown-ups! I highly...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
This book was well written and descriptive. The storyline was unique and it is something I wouldn't normally read.
Was this review helpful?

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale (review copy from Del Rey) tries to deliver a magical and whimsical tale along the lines of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, but fails to deliver any of the depth of emotion or insight.

The Toymakers is the story of a magical toy shop in Edwardian Mayfair, run by Papa Jack, his two sons Kasper and Emil, and their community of shop workers. Papa Jack's toys are legendary for their inventiveness and magic, and the shop's pre-Christmas opening each year is a famed spectacle. A young woman called Cathy Wray finds refuge there after she runs away from her family, pregnant by a local boy and desperate not to find herself in a home for the...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
This is a great read. It is hard to define but contains the magic of Christmas with the reality of relationships and war. If that wasn't enough there is an element of horror.
It would be a good book for bookclubs. So much to discuss from both male and female perspectives.
Was this review helpful?
A magical tale of a toymaker and his two sons.  Little by little their background is revealed as each boy struggles with the need to invent the ultimate toy. The story is intertwined within the incredible Emporium where things are not always as they seem!   Ragdogs that behave like the real, soldiers and trees that act and grow magically!  In a strange world anything seems believable!!  The emotions and struggles of the two brothers cover several years, including those of the First World War, and inject reality into this fairytale. How are these toys so real?  Now that would be telling,
Was this review helpful?

The Emporium: a toyshop where fantasy becomes reality. A safe haven where adults set aside the horrors of the the world outside and play happily alongside their children.

At the centre of the story we have an unlikely love triangle between two brothers and Cathy, the pregnant young girl who has run away from home and finds a new life at The Emporium.

The story neatly contrasts the fantastical and insular world of The Emporium against the horrors of a world deeply entrenched in WW1. There are a number of themes running through the book such as the loss of childhood and the futility of war and we are left asking, must all good things come to an end?

Whilst I enjoyed the start of the story...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?