The Doll Factory

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

This book brings Victorian London to life, with all of its' beauty and squalor.  Iris and her twin sister Rose work in a doll factory,   She attracts the attention of two different men: Louis, an artist who asks her to model in his studio and eventually encourages her interest in painting; and Silas, a collector of curiosities for his museum.  It turns out that one of the men has ulterior motives for his attentions, and unfortunately, it might be too late when she discovers what they are.  This story gains momentum as it hurtles toward a breath-taking and satisfying ending.
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"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"

I wanted to looove this book, but it was just ok for me. Writing was very slow, story line was missing something.
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Not gonna lie, that cover is what made me pick this book. The concept was interesting, as well, but it was that cover that got me in. This was a book that took a while to get into. It is a slow start and is told from multiple perspectives. When the story was told from Iris’s POV, I was invested. Iris is one of my favorite characters from 2019. When the story switch to the kids, I was invested because I was so upset. Macneal did a great job with writing scenes and characters that brought out my empathy hardcore. And then there was Silas. I did not think Silas was going to…creep me out as much as he did, but boy, was I wrong. I felt gross sometimes reading from his perspective. Fantastic characters, great story, decent writing. Depending on the subject matter, I could possibly try a book from this author again.
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I am giving this novel 3 stars because of the beautiful cover and its uniqueness and creepiness factor, but this one just wasn't for me. When the novel started and Silas was first introduced, it reminded me of some of the creepier episodes of Criminal Minds and I had such high hopes! But as soon as Albie starts delivering dead animals to Silas and begging for money, this book lost its appeal. Yes, I am an over-the-top animal lover so the dead animals presented an issue for me, but even more than that was how after the opening of the novel, everything seemed to move at a snail's pace. Elizabeth Macneal is certainly extremely creative and I applaud the original and different plot of the novel. Unfortunately, however, this novel was a back and forth of being completely boring and a mix of Human Centipede and Silence of the Lambs at times.

Readers with strong stomachs that enjoy gothic and historical novels may very well love this one, but I wasn't a fan of it.

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A creepy book set in Victorian London. I would definitely read more books by this author. I liked how the author integrated history, art, and taxidermy in this book.
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As you can tell by the fact it took me 3 months to finish this book, it definitely was not a favorite. The beginning was extremely slow and I sat it down many times. I think some of that is on me... I don’t usually read historical pieces but wanted to try something a little different.

The story picked up by about 75% and I felt actively engaged. There was a strong plot twist that added excitement. Overall I would recommend to readers who don’t mind the slower pace.

*Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This book is not for me. I thought i was looking for a fun thriller but for some reason I couldn't connect. Here is the thing this is the wrong genre.
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In complete honesty, I did not enjoy this book. The writing was choppy, and it was poorly edited. The story itself was decent.
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I was intrigued by this beautiful cover and the synopsis - a Gothic tale in 1850s London? Count me in. 
Iris, who works in a doll factory with her sister, dreams of bigger and better things - namely, painting. So when a dashing painter named Louis offers her a way out of the drudgery, she accepts. However, lurking in the shadows is a taxidermist whose obsession with Iris goes beyond delusion. He plots and, unnoticed by Iris, watches and waits like a spider to make his move. 
While I liked this novel, it also seemed to fall short in terms of character development. I never got a good sense of Louis, and Silas (the villain taxidermist) seemed a bit one dimensional, overwhelmingly stereotypically evil.
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I liked it!  A slow start but it builds to a (somewhat predictable) creepy crescendo.  I enjoyed the insight into the PRB and female artists of the time/place.
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Read this one in 24 hours. It was so creepy and spellbinding. I was totally hooked from beginning to end. I wish it was a movie!
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I don't really know what this book was about. I mean, the plot was basic but was lost in all the descriptions and the.... weird. The point of this book could have been told in about 50 pages and the rest was just not great.
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Fully of my own fault, this novel was not what I had expected. I am not sure why but I had thought this was meant to be gothic 'horror' esque. Though it was not the book I had intended I can appreciate it for what it was. The book was well written and the characters were well developed! I believe if this is a genre that you enjoy, this books would be perfect for you!
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This was a great book. The descriptions and historical details were realistic and believable.  The revelations as the book goes on of the depths of Silas’ madness was very well done.  Overall, a nice piece of atmospheric Gothic work, set in the world of Pre-Raphaelite art and featuring, among other things: artists' models; estranged twins; an endearing urchin; domestic tragedy; a deranged collector, plus various pieces of Romantic art, bad Victorian taxidermy, stained silk and bodily fluids. Well-written and evocative. Worth the read.
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The Doll Factory is an interesting gothic novel. Was a little too gruesome for me, yet I appreciated the authentic details of that era. Thank you NetGalley for the copy, all opinions are my own.
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This was almost a DNF for me. It's extremely slow with graphic descriptions that turn your stomach and don't add to the plot. The prose while ominous and rich has a weak cast of characters. Woven with familial responsibility, coming-of-age, art, friendship, desire, obsession, loss,  and the roles of women in Victorian England this may be for you if you can stomach it.
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This simply wasn’t the story for me. I didn’t dislike it, but it was VERY different than what I was anticipating.
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As someone who has walls filled with John William Waterhouse, Edward Burne-Jones and Millais’ Ophelia, this was a treat to read!  Even though I’m not a scary book fan, this has just enough creep to make it thrilling but not too much where I put it down. Great characters and great premise.
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I wanted to read this book because it was described as a page-turning psychological thriller.  This one turned out to be unnecessarily dark and disturbing.  The boy that collected money by bringing carcasses of dead animals to a taxidermist in order to buy false teeth for himself reminded me of the movie “Human Centipede”.  The mutilation of animals for entertainment was just too morbid for my taste.

I would not recommend this book.

I received this galley from NetGalley.
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Victorian England, gothic, a little creepy, rich, unique characters, this story was fantastic! I found myself rooting for the protagonist and booing the villain. Part love story and part true crime, this book has everything. A page turner I was sad to see come to an end.
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