The Doll Factory

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Sadly this book was not for me. Too creepy and did not like the style of writing. This is my opinion only so hope everyone else enjoys. Thank you to Netgalley and Atria Books for my honest review.
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"The #1 International Bestseller.

Obsession is an art.

In this “sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession” (Paula Hawkins, bestselling 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."

The Great Exhibition, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, what other of my obsessions does this book hold? You must read to find out!
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This story is dark and depraved. It took me two tries to read it but I’m glad I was able to read it. I was worried it would be a dnf as I’m not much into historical stories. 

The romance in this story takes the back burner to the depravity of the weird stalker of the Curiosities shop owner. 

I liked this story a lot by the time I got to the end. It was a little slow in the beginning but it ramped up before the halfway mark and never slowed down. 

If you’re looking for something dark that makes you a bit unnerved, this story is definitely for you, whether or not your a historical reader.
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The Doll Factory is Elizabeth Macneal's debut novel. The Doll Factory takes place in London in the 1850's. Ms Macneal does an excellent job of putting the reader in that time period and connecting with Iris, the main character. Some edge of your seat moments. Looking forward to the next story by Ms Macneal. I was given an early copy to review.
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If the reader can get past the gruesome details of most of the characters actions, they will find themselves in the middle of a well-written Dickensian novel. Romance and obsession are combined with a bit of mystery to make for an interesting read.
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An outstanding Gothic thriller! The author did a ton of research and has recreated Victorian London with a deft hand. I love how she developed sympathetic characters from the seamy shadows of London streets, contrasting their lives with more privileged folk. I particularly loved how she took us into the mind of Silas and slowly peeled back the workings of his sick mind. An intense page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat until the final word.
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I wanted to like this book, I truly did, but I just could not ever get into it.  I don't think this was any fault of the author, maybe it was the time period the book was written in that I just could not get attached to.
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Overall, I enjoyed this book. I struggled a bit with the time period. (This in no way is the author's fault, I just tend to not like books set too far in the past). I found the book to be gothic and creepy (which is something that helped me look past the time period issue I had). I would definitely recommend this to friends.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Elizabeth Macneal and Atria Books for this ARC.

Oooh, I do love a good historical Gothic story, especially when it takes place in London. A great debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal.
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This is a story of a woman, Iris, in the Victorian era who wanted to get out of her current life and make something of herself. She worked with her sister in a Doll Factory painting faces of dolls with precision. But when she crosses paths with an artist, Louis, who asks her to be his model and will in turn assist her with her painting skills, she jumps at the chance to move on with her life. Another forgettable encounter happens around the same time and that's where our timelines go back and forth between characters making for a slightly confusing beginning with a slower pace that left me wanting more.

To be honest, I wanted to like this story more than I did. I was looking for something that grabbed me from the get go and made my heart pound. The cover was the first thing that appealed to me and that definitely drew me in. But the first half of the book was a bit slow and didn't keep my attention as I thought it would. Plus, I was feeling a bit confused at the beginning. Maybe it was my lack of interest in the story or the setting, but I was left somewhat unfulfilled. I did start to enjoy the characters and liked to see the development with each of them and how their lives were going to collide into each other. At around 50% I was fully committed and couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what the outcome was going to be. I wish there was more of the climax, but it still was exiting and twisted and made my heart pound. Just wish it wouldn't have taken so long to get me there.

While I am glad I committed and finished the book, the first half wasn't exciting and almost had me quitting the book. But the second half made up for it, raising my rating. It wasn't a perfect book, but the second half gave me the psychological thriller feel I was hoping for that I didn't get in the first half. A historical and artistic thriller that may appeal to some, but was just alright for me.
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A disappointing whiff that I regret snapping up on impulse. The concept is intriguing and Macneal captures the time period well, weaving historical events into her story. However, the sluggish pacing really brings the book down; the tale very slowly unfolds over the first three-quarters before something momentous finally happens and it abruptly ends immediately afterward. I found Iris to be an interesting, progressive protagonist and telling this particular story of obsession from three different perspectives is a clever idea, but one point of view is not nearly as integral to the plot and easily could have been left out. Fascinating concepts are at play here, but they frustratingly did not gel to create a satisfying read for me.
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Set in Victorian London, the story follows three main characters whose lives intertwine. There is a doll factory (more of a doll store with two sisters creating the dolls then a large factory as I had imagined before starting the book) the world of painters, taxidermy, obsession, and poverty. Had a great gothic feel, and some very suspenseful parts. I feel like it would be the perfect fall read.
I received a free ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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If you love historical fiction set during the Victorian Era and dark thrillers that keep you engaged until the last page then you will love The Doll Factory. This book gave me the creeps and slightly reminded me of a vintage 1800’s version of the book, You, by Caroline Kepnes (except I liked this story better). Although it was more of a slow burn in the beginning, the tale takes a sharp turn later on and becomes quite the chilling thriller. The book has a focus on painting and I loved the portrayal of real artists from the past with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Great Exhibition in London. I thought it was so cool how the author kept with history and snuck golden nuggets in there, it made me want to research the famous painters, their works, and their muses. I appreciated the depth of the characters and was fascinated by life in London during the 1850s. It was so neat to be transported back in time to such a gritty and historically rich place. This book was awesome. 4.5/5 stars Rounded up to 5 for this review.
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The story started quite slowly, then picked up to become thrilling! Iris and her sister work for the laudanum addicted Mrs Salter, painting dolls. Iris wants to be an artist but her family do not approve. Iris meets Louis, who asks her to model for him. She agrees in exchange for him teaching her to paint. Eventually they fall in love. One day Iris by chance briefly meets Silas, a taxidermist. She thinks nothing of the meeting but Silas becomes obsessed and thinks only of possessing Iris. A dark but beautifully written story.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Dark and different--THE DOLL FACTORY is an enthralling and terrifying read, peopled by characters whose jeopardy will have you holding your breath.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a raw, compelling novel.  Once I began the book, I couldn't put it down.  It is beautifully written with an interesting storyline and identifiable characters
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ARC Generously Provided by Publisher

Thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea but The Doll Factory is one that anyone, whether you're a fan of thrillers or not should read. It is a chilling and gothic historical fiction, from debut author Elizabeth Macneal. 

The book is set in the Victorian era, and feels so creepy, you get the chills. The book is definitely atmospheric and full of  beautiful and deranged obsessions, among love and horror that is set back against poverty. There are clear indications between class divisions and inequalities, as you'd think there'd be. 

For Iris and her sister Rose, they live boring lives painting dolls for a laudanum ridden Mrs. Salter. But at the back, nether of lives have been easy. Iris has ambitions to become a artist but is not supported by her family, because of how society treated women in the 1800's. Both sisters encounter men that will undoubtedly change their lives. Elizabeth Macneal captures historical facts so well, that you even feel like you're in the era with the sisters.        

The cast of characters is very diverse and should be applauded. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book where it takes a turn and becomes disturbing and unsettling. This would make a great movie!     

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the horror element among everyday life.
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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming  Could not put down nor did I want to.
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19th century. London. 
Iris aspires to be an artist, but isn't able to pursue her passion due to her circumstances, until a chance encounter at the Great Exhibition (1850) at Hyde Park. Iris meets Silas, a curious collector of strange stuff that includes animals, bugs and insects. Silas is entranced by Iris and couldn't get his mind off of her. A slip of his tongue led Iris to becoming a model for a pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, which also gives her a chance to be trained by Louis himself to be an artist in her own right.

All's well until Silas decides that Iris is in love with him and that she wouldn't be happy until she's with him. And thus, begins his journey and obsession in pursuing her. And all hell breaks loose. 

Wow. This book. Just wow. It left me feeling ambivalent - part of me didn't want to finish it because it was just too disturbing for my taste, yet I wanted to keep going to know the how this entire tale is going to be resolved, And I loved the powerful and atmospheric writing. 

Most of the characters were unlikeable except for maybe Albie and Iris. Silas is a sick, sick man, so sick that at times I couldn't bring myself to read his part. And I must admit, the parts where there's animal cruelty, I skimmed-skipped them. It was just too much. He was heartless and inhumane beyond words. He was never loved therefore he didn't know how to love. But I disliked him so much I couldn't bring myself to empathize with him! 

And the ending was a little unsatisfactory. It felt a little rushed too.

If you're looking for a page-turning Gothic psychological thriller and can stomach animal atrocities, give this one a go. But if you're an animal lover, STAY AWAY. 

Be warned! This page-turner, while very well written, is very disturbing and downright creepy. I guess that's the effect of powerful writing. It affects you deeply.

Thank you Netgalley and Atria Books for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I’m not entirely certain how I feel about this book! I enjoyed it, but it also gave me the creeps and grossed me out so I stopped reading for a few days before coming back to it. I feel like there was so much detail about Iris but I never understood her relationship to Louis and felt she gave in to him too quickly. Silas was an oddity that I thought would take up more of the book. And the ending... well I was disappointed. I didn’t feel much of a victory in it. Yet, I liked it.

I was provided with an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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