The Doll Factory

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

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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Set in Victorian London in 1850, Elizabeth MacNeal's debut novel, The Doll Factory’ revolves around Iris, who together with her sister Rose, paint dolls for a living.  All Iris wants to do is to paint and become an artist. She meets Louis Frost (artist) who asks her to model for him. She accepts with the condition that he will teach her how to paint.  During an event she meets Silas, a taxidermist who becomes obsessed with her and has gone mad when Iris rejects his advances.  Although it was a slow read, I enjoyed the creepiness and the depictions of Victorian London.  
Thanks to the Publisher, Author and NetGalley for the eARC.
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This Victorian novel starts out good, but somewhere it lost me a little bit, not enough that I didn't finish it. The character of Albion kept me going. He's about twelve and he and his sister live a very hard scrabble life. Very Hard! There are many moments in the book where you can't help but laugh at his escapades. There are some things with animals in this book that might upset people (just a little warning).
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley.
All opinions are my own.
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This was such an amazing read that I couldn’t put it down. It went everywhere with me. To the doctors office, the dentist, the eye doctor. IT WENT ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. I was so sad when it ended that I immediately went and bought more books from this author!
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I receive this from Netgalley for honest review.

What a great thriller and suspense it was to read. What a great psychological thrill! This novel had everything in it. The thrill, the suspense, the psychological, and the twist is crazy. This novel will keep you thinking and guessing. When you think you right, well let me just say that you might be wrong. This had me all over the place. My heart beating so fast! I couldn't believe what I was reading. If had me in shock. Every page, every chapter was a page turner. I couldn't believe my eyes what I was reading. It will surprise you in every way.

The storyline was very good! 
The theme and setting was well put together. The characters was well put together in the story. 
This story will have in a rollercoaster with all the spooky and secrets. Was so well put in the story. 
Everything all in one book. 
It was just perfect!
 This had me hooked from the beginning. What a Rollercoaster! The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel would have you guess and thinking all the way to the end. What a great thrill and suspense. I love a great suspense that would have me think and guessing. This novel did just that to me. To the point that am wrong. When the ending comes am on shock. I wouldn't of never believe or guess. Like OMG! 
Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good! 
Can't wait for her next book.
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I had a difficult time finishing this novel and really didn't enjoy it much.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for honest review.
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*Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the ARC!*

DNF - I didn't realize this was set in the past, and typically those aren't my favorites. I gave it a shot, but only made it through the first quarter before deciding to move on. 

*Three stars because forced to rate!*
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I was given an advanced copy of this book but also read along with the audiobook. The narrator of the audiobook was a great choice for the read. I loved the setting and time period of the book. This was my first book that covered The Great Exhibition. Iris was a strong female character which kept things interesting.
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The story of Iris and Louis seems doomed from the start.  He is not truly free and she is being stalked by a dangerous and possibly deadly 'collector'. However, they are drawn to each other despite the many hurdles their affection must overcome. I loved the time and place setting of the book; Victorian England during the exciting time of the Great Exhibition.  The exhibition actually lends an underlying theme to the plot.
The stealthy sense of danger that escalated to an edgy climax completed my enjoyment of this novel.  It had a bit of everything---danger, historical romance and cultural mores.  I would definitely recommend this book!

Thank you to Elizabeth Macneal for her fluid and captivating writing; the publisher, Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and put forth an honest review.
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This is definitely a creepy, Victorian era book-- it gets all that right on the money!  I guess my only issue with this one was that it felt split between two story lines: that of Iris's newfound freedom and Silas's obsessive, narcissistic ways.  Overall, I was captivated; I kept on waiting for more to happen.  The ending just felt flat for me.  3.5 stars!
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Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This was a true creepy gothic thriller!  Set in the time of the pre-raphaelite artists, which I have always found so fascinating; the time of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in the 1850s to be exact.  What a great, utterly creepy historical fiction book.  I loved it.  All Iris wants to do is break away from the painting of doll faces and learn to paint for real, but in this time, women are not permitted to do things that men take for granted.  It is chance meeting with Silas, a super creepy taxidermist and collector of oddities that changes everything and Louis, a painter, who wants to use Iris as a model.  Iris wants to agree on the condition that he teach her to paint, but it would mean leaving her twin sister, Rose, who is responsible for sewing the doll clothing, behind and perhaps being disowned by her parents. Meanwhile, Silas is making plans for Iris to be part of his collection.  A thrilling ending and wonderful, creepy story.

There were so many wonderful, well-written characters, a great sense of history and historical fact worked into this fictional story.  Great book.
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This is a gothic historical fiction that grabs your interest right away. It is set in 1850s London during the Great Exhibiton. Iris crosses paths with Silas who is totally creepy but doesn’t seem to notice. Their meeting goes unnoticed to Iris as she is now modeling for Louis frost and she is exploring her passions. 

Meanwhile Silas is still thinking of her. The obsession and darkness keeps this story moving and it creeped me out! 

This isn’t my normal genre but I suggest taking a chance on it.
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Wow! Super creepy! A novel of art and dark obsession. The story takes place in 1850's London. When Iris is asked to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost she agrees on the terms that he will teach her to paint. From there she meets Silas and things take a very dark and twisted turn. This is a chilling and very disturbing gothic tale of art, love, and dark obsession. It creeped me out. It's like watching a horror movie. The author has amazing imagination. What a stunning debut!
I was given a copy by the publisher for my honest review.
Novels N Latte Review
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The only things keeping this from 5 stars for me are the graphic nature of killing puppies/animals (easy to skip/skim over) and the lack of a final chapter (in my opinion)...I wish I knew what came of Iris and Louis and if Iris and Rose rekindled their sister bond.
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Oh, how I loved this twisty smart thriller! The Doll Factory is the perfect blend of subtle suspense, creepy obsession, and well-developed characters. I was so captivated by all of the layers in this story, and all of them centering around a girl named Iris, who’s just fighting to be free to live the life she wants.

There was so much powerful symbolism woven throughout the story and I was instantly captivated by Iris’ beautiful strength and Silas’ dark obsession.

This story is seeped in the atmosphere of Victorian England and I loved learning more about the art culture of that time. The mystery in this story was not shocking, but was well developed and revealed at just the perfect pace. I did not want to put it down! And that last chapter? Absolutely brilliant!

The Doll Factory has become a new favorite of mine!
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Can a novel make you see differently? Is it possible to describe painting to a nonartist, Victorian London with its stench, ambition, and tumult, and a person following their heart and intuition to the life they never even dared to dream? 

Yes, it can -- if it is the fine novel THE DOLL FACTORY by Elizabeth Macneal.

In taut, beautiful prose, Macneal draws us into the fascinating world of the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood through the eyes of a woman with a painter's eye and talent, yet destined to serve, to paint doll's faces in a virtual factory of drudgery and disappointment. 

Through the eyes of a young woman, a young boy, and a madman, we experience The Great Exhibition, the squalor of the poor, and the extent to which each person creates their own version of reality and attracts others to share that same vision. 

The plot is gripping and kept me up late at night racing to the breathless and well-paced finish. The characters feel true, immediate, and dimensional blends of good, evil, and undecided.

A wonderful read -- a fantastic and seldom-seen alchemy of historical fiction, thriller, and coming-to-conscious story of exceptional characters.  

Highly recommended.
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This debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal is a wonderfully composed, eerie story reminiscent in spirit of the movie Perfume. Set in the mid 1800’s in London, the story follows Iris and Rose Whittle, 2 young twins who live a simple life making dolls in Mrs. Salter’s doll factory. Each girl suffers a defect, Iris has a bowed collar bone, and Rose’s body was ravaged by smallpox, leaving her permanently disfigured. Iris is given a chance to escape her servitude when she receives an offer from Post Raphealite painter Louis Frost. As his model, she will earn an honest wage and escape her dull life. Even though it means leaving her sister behind, she risks it all for different future. 
Iris’s perfect future comes under threat when she crosses paths with an obscure taxidermist named Silas Reed. Silas develops a obscure obsession with Iris and from the shadows of London’s streets, he stalks her as prey. Silas is a truly demented, pitiful individual, who seems to suffer extreme mental illness. The author is very good at weaving subtle hints into the storyline that give us a true picture of the depravity and horror of Silas Reed. Each individual character is richly described and they each feel real. A wonderful debut. I look forward to future novels from this author.
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