by Robert Dinsdale
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 08 Feb 2018 | Archive Date 22 Feb 2018
Do you remember when you believed in magic?
It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment.
The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.
But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own…
A dark enchanting, spectacularly imaginative novel perfect for fans of Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 251 members
The Toy Makers is a delightful tale, a Stunning read which captivates you and takes you on a magical journey.
The Toy Makers is about a family. There is Papa Jack or Jekabs Godman and his sons Emil and Kaspar. The story covers the life of a girl called Cathy. At 15, Cathy Wray is pregnant and runs away from her family. Her parents are going to send her away and have her baby adopted. Cathy sees an advert in the paper calling for people to work in Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium, a place of hope and sanctuary. The story begins just before the First World War through the Second World War and up to 1953.
The Emporium is the most fantastical toy shop in London. It sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike. Wonderful toys, with more than a touch of magic, and a store just as magical which opens with the first frost and closes with the flowering of the first snowdrops. Patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own.
This book started out with this childlike feeling and as the years in the book progressed it became more serious, and I felt the responsibility of adult hood, every now and then an undercurrent of the sadness and a stab of reality, of real life, war and lost family or friends.
There are good times and bad, and the ongoing rivalry between Emil and Kaspar is partly to blame. The ending is bitter-sweet. Overall this is a complex and intelligent book that exceeds the expectations of the reader.
Lastly many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK, for providing me with a copy this book in return for a fair and honest review
The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale 5+ stars
Magical! That is the only way to describe this beautifully written, unforgettable, gem of a story.
What an intriguing and compelling read this was, it captivated me and my imagination from the beginning and would not let me put the book down. This is an entrancing story and not at all what you first think it will be, there are twists and turns that take you off in all directions. At times it is sad, with insights into the human soul, and at others joyous; it is a story of wonder, enchantment and sadness; a story of the impossible and the reality.
The characters are so well written, I become so involved in their lives that I felt I was there in that Emporium with Cathy and Kasper, living their ups and downs inside their ever changing world. I want to play with Sirius, Kapitan and all the other magical toys. This is an unforgettable story.
If you want truly magical read, that will spellbind you then this is the one for you. I want first frost so I can try and find the emporium for myself.
What a book and a half! I will never look at toys in the same way again. This book is just fantastic - a wonderful story with brilliant characters which will grip you from first page to last. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Lots of books catch my imagination but very, very few capture it. This is one of the exceptions as it had me well and truly captured from page 1. Would have read it in one sitting but, from time to time, I had to get some sleep. Can't begin to explain the book's attraction without giving "spoilers" and so I will end by saying that if you like your imagination to run riot, your imagination will thank you for the freedom! Go Buy This Book.
I loved this book. Hours passed as I was reading without me realising, and even when it reached the small hours of the morning, I could not stop. I wish I could put my finger on what makes this book so brilliant. The writing is gorgeous, vivid, and visual. It seems redundant to say the characters are well developed. They weren't characters to me. They were real people, with all the hopes and dreams, fears and foibles of real people. I shared in their pain, their uncertainties, their unexpected joys.
The book succeeds because its foundation is a study of human life, and watching four generations of a family succeed and fail. It's also a book about nostalgia, sentimental but never mawkish. It's about how toys can make us feel like children again, and the trials of one family trying to bring some joy into a troubled world. But it's also about magic. The ordinary magic of love and hope, and the extraordinary magic of what might happen if, just if, a toy were to one day come to life.
I absolutely adored this book; from the very first page, to the last,everything was perfect.
The book is full of magic and joy, and perfectly captures the excitement of childhood Christmas's and the flush of first love. The Emporium is the most exquisite toyshop where Papa Jack and his two sons, Kaspar and Emil craft the magical toys that bring all of London to the store on the night of the first frost. Welcomed into the family and the shop is Cathy, and it is through her eyes that we see the rivalry between the two brothers, the effects of the two world wars, and the fate of the Emporium.
What started as a magical fairy tale, perfect for reading as we head into the Christmas season, grows into something much darker and more complex, and utterly heartbreaking.
Epic in scale this book really captured my imagination and has taken up place in my heart. It is a book that I will gladly turn to again and I would like to thank the publishers, the author and netgalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review.
Wow wow wow!
Pull up an armchair to the open fire, get a mug of cocoa and lose yourself in the magical world that is Papa Jack's Emporium. Set in early twentieth century's London toy shop of the Godman family, you follow the fate of the emporium filled with toys touched by the magic of the toymakers and how their lives in turn are touched and changed by them. Truly magical, will take you back to your own childhood and its wonders and fantasies. Highly highly recommended read!
One of the best books I’ve read for a long time, the writer whisked me away to another world. A magical story set in the heart of a toy shop in London filled with wonderour creations and toys for all ages.
The characters are well written and I enjoyed the elements of realism in certain parts of the book which tug at the heart strings and the sense of escapism that the toys help to create throughout the ravages of the First World War.
Do toys really come to life or is it all in the imagination?? The description of the toys transports you into a magical place.
It’s not a fantasy book of grand scale but a heartwarming story giving remembrance to our childhoods amidst the hardships of life.
Would definitely recommend I didn’t want this book to end.
I absolutely adored this book. It created that feeling of home, of nostalgia, and childhood, that special place where magic still exists. It's easily one of my favourite books now and I look forward to reading it for many Christmases to come.
Welcome to my first favorite book of the year. I know it’s kinda early still to say something like that because by the end I always have way too many, but this, I’m sure, it will be one of them. You guys have no idea how much I loved this book! I hadn’t even heard of it, but it was recommended to me and I decided to try it out. This was AMAZING!
The Toymakers is quite a complex and interesting story set in London. It goes from 1907 until 1953. So the whole story happens during both of the World Wars. They have a big impact in this book and I really like that the timeline was so long, since we were able to follow our main character since she was a teenager until she was a grandmother. It just made it all even more special, you know what I mean? I feel that often the only way we know so much about a character is that it’s a series and as just a standalone, this book did something I never even thought I wanted… It made me connect with the character on a whole other level and somehow I really felt part of the story.
Cathy Wray is our main character and she is just 16 years old when we meet her. She was desperate when she reached Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium, and she got a job there. I’m trying not to give much away since this is quite a complex story, and a lot of things happen but, the thing about the Emporium is that it only opens from first frost, until the first snowdrop blooms. And everyone that came to work there, then go away, the exception being, of course, Papa Jack and his two sons, Kaspar and Emil. But Cathy stays and we see her live evolving and all the magic behind the Emporium’s doors.
Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium is a fascinating place, full of magic, happiness, and possibilities. It will make you nostalgic; it will make you reach for your inner child and throw yourself into all the fascinating things happening; best of all, it will make you believe. Believe in the extraordinary and in everything you miss from your childhood. It’s a place you will wish to have visited. For I sure do.
I can’t make it justice to how unbelievably beautiful this book is, but I really urge you to read it. It’s full of magic both ordinary and extraordinary, it’s full of hope, love, and emotions and by the end, you will not believe in what you’ve read. Everything in here is unexpected and a lot less fluffy than I first thought it was going to be. It’s a sweet book but it also has a realistic and hard part to it – especially the war parts – and those are really hard-hitting to read because you get used to living in that amazing wonderland.
I loved the characters, how different they were, but how well they complemented each other. How they let their inner child live so fully, how they saw the world in a totally different light and how much they meant to me. You just really got engrossed in the story and it was impossible not to care for all the characters, even the dog is special for me!
The writing was truly beautiful, it sucks you in… It just grips you… I couldn’t stop reading, if I hadn’t had stuff to do I believe I would have read this in one sitting. It really touched me and made me feel tons of emotions. It even made me cry… Although yeah, I do cry easily but still, it was tense and unexpected and just… Ahh… Read it!!
Also, I feel that I should say that among other things, this book talks about PTS (post-traumatic stress) and how war changes people, teenage-pregnancy, family issues, in case someone is sensitive to any of those topics. I feel that they were talked about with great care and in a slightly realistic way, because I mean, we are talking about a magical toy store… But even the magic was believable and beautiful! This was the best magical realism I’ve read.
This was an amazingly beautiful book. If you like magical realism and historical fiction conjoined, this is the book for you. But I believe that anyone would enjoy this book. It will transport you to when you were a child and it will just make everything possible! Highly recommend it!