The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.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. When Iris is aske...

Details The Doll Factory

TitleThe Doll Factory
Release DateMay 2nd, 2019
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Gothic

Reviews The Doll Factory

  • Maureen
    Richly evocative of Victorian London, ‘The Doll Factory’ revolves around Iris, who together with her sister Rose, works for the cruel, laudanum addicted Mrs Salter. Iris dreams of being an artist, expressing herself on canvas, giving vent to her talents, rather than spending long hours of monotony painting dolls faces. When she meets pre- Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, and he asks her to model for him, she agrees, on condition that he teaches...
  • Paromjit
    This is an unforgettable piece of chilling and gothic historical fiction, the debut from Elizabeth Macneal, set in the Victorian era. She writes an atmospheric and beautifully constructed story of art, ambition, a deranged obsession, love and horror, amidst the poverty, class divisions and entrenched inequalities, squalor, culture, scientific developments, and the prevalent social norms and attitudes of the time, such as the way women were treate...
  • Beata
    This novel is a winner for me! The 1850 London, where pre-Raphaelites shook the artistic world, where a young woman is tired of painting dolls and wants to express herself in real art, London where a little boy collects money by bringing carcases of dead animals to a most peculiar taxidermist in order to buy false teeth for himself and who also looks after his sister, and London that is preparing for the Great Exhibition, is the place that I foun...
  • Elyse Walters
    NO SPOILERSThis Victorian era....fusion drama gets creepier and creepier....with a climactic ending!!! A reader who chooses this novel is getting the deli deluxe combo sandwich with added secret ingredients whether you want them or not.....along with:....gothic noir.......historical fiction...(a tribute to art, artists and London during the Victorian era, 1850-1851...and an education/understanding of pre-Raphael).......creations made in a doll sh...
  • Liz
    The Doll Factory imagines an 1850 London that could easily have been written by Dickens. We see Albie, the street urchin with but a single tooth, who collects dead animals for Silas, a taxidermist and a collector who dreams of having his own museum of oddities. Twin sisters, Iris and Rose, paint and cloth china dolls for Mrs. Salter, their laudanum addicted mistress. When Iris meets Louis Frost, a pre-Raphaelite painter, she strikes a bargain wit...
  • Debra
    2019-09-12 words which can be used to describe The Doll Factory, a Gothic Victorian tale set in London in 1850. When Iris, an aspiring artist meets Louis, pre-Raphaelite artist she agrees to model for him in exchange for painting lessons. She spends her days painting doll faces and years for more. Silas has also met Iris and he has plans of his own - dark plans which ...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    Happy pub day to this creepy blend of hist fic and mystery! The Doll Factory is set in 1850s London. The Great Exhibition is going up on Hyde Park. It’s an art exhibition and among the crowd watching the event are Iris and Silas, who meet by chance. Iris is an aspiring artist and Silas is collector of curiosities and a taxidermist (creepy!). Iris does not think much of the meeting, but to Silas, it’s a point of importance. Iris is asked t...
    3.5 StarsI was lured into reading this book because of its locale and time period (Victorian London), the Dickensian / gothic atmosphere, and the promise of all things weird. This book delivered on all fronts.The main character is Iris, who with her twin sister Rose works in a porcelain doll shop in London. The apprenticeship was set up by their parents. The establishment is sandwiched in between other storefronts, one of which is a bakery, resul...
  • Zoe
    Gothic, evocative, and eerie!The Doll Factory is a riveting, gritty tale set in London in the mid-1800s at a time when the city was bustling, scavenging was prevalent, respectability meant everything, The Great Exhibition was a structural marvel, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was redefining visual art.There are three main memorable characters in this novel; Iris Whittle, a young red-headed girl who dreams of becoming an artist and unconsciou...
  • Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
    Nopety nope......this book just wasn’t for me. It was extremely slow going and I was losing patience with it more than anything else. I was also turned off and a little disgusted by a few scenes and when that happens while reading there usually isn’t anything that will save the book for me whether it’s an amazing read or not. I couldn’t resist that gorgeous cover and title of this book though and thought I would absolutely love it. I’m ...
  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    Not feeling the love for this one and there is no grooving to the beat of this one for me! This was one Norma and I thought we would love but it was not the dark and twisted that I like to groove to. So I am moving on to the next one and keeping this review short.
  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    Review soon
  • Nadia
    3.5 starsSet in Victorian London in 1850, Elizabeth MacNeal's debut novel, the Doll Factory, depicts a story of Iris, who despite her parents disapproval decides to follow her dream of becoming an artist. She meets Luis who is a painter from Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and he is completely smitten by her. Luis wants to paint Iris and also agrees to give her painting lessons. However, Luis is not the only one who has their eyes on Iris. Iris and Si...
  • Emma
    This was a great book. The descriptions and historical details were realistic and some were new to me. I’ve read quite a lot of Victorian historical fiction, so new ways of thinking about this era are always welcome: a boy saving for a full set of dentures; the fascination with natural history and taxidermy as the scientific discoveries of anatomy multiplied .The symbol of the Great Exhibition as the visible part of an iceberg, while the gritty...
  • Selena
    I received a free e-copy of The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal from NetGalley for my honest review.This book of historical fiction that is super creepy! This story takes place in 1850's in London. Twin sisters, Iris and Rose, work for Mrs. Salter at the Doll Emporium. The girls paint doll faces and clothe them as well. Iris aspires to be a real artist. Rose doesn't ever want to go anywhere or do anything because of the scars she has on her fac...
  • Pauline
    The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is the story of Iris who works in the Doll Factory and dreams of being an artist. She becomes a model for the artist Louis Frost and she embraces the world of art.Iris meets Silas who becomes obsessed with her and the story becomes very dark and sometimes scary.I would like to thank NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestI'm a sucker for stories about murderous obsession, especially if it's channeled through art. John Fowles's THE COLLECTOR was about a butterfly collector who decided to broaden his repertoire to include a woman, and Patrick Süskind's PERFUME is about a perfume creator who wants to perfect the scent of a young girl. THE DOLL FACTORY, with its compellingly creepy summary, seemed like it would ...
  • Bren
    "She is too prized, and she is his, and he can scarcely believe what he has done".The Doll Factory by Elizabeth MacnealI am editing this because I want to be clear. This is a good book but NOT FOR ME. Different books are for different people. Were it not for the Taxidermist and killing of an animal, graphic scenes of stuffing animals ETC I would have most likely given this a higher rating. And I did read most of it although I cannot even say how ...
  • Ron Charles
    I’ve missed subway stops to finish a book, but this is the first time I almost missed a plane. The final chapters of Elizabeth Macneal’s delightfully creepy novel kept me screwed to my office chair as my wife sent irritated texts from the airport.What more could one want from a Victorian thriller?But Macneal delivers even more. “The Doll Factory,” which is already a hit in England, offers an eerily lifelike re-creation of 1850s London lac...
  • Rebecca
    (Nearly 4.5) Victorian pastiches are among my very favorite things to read, but (not least because I have an MA in Victorian Literature) I’m awfully picky about them. This one’s a winner, perfect for fans of Michel Faber, John Fowles, and Sarahs Moss, Perry and Waters. It’s set over a year and a half in the early 1850s and focuses on the Great Exhibition and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but it also rootles around in the everyday world of...
  • Monica
    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...
  • Lou
    Exquisite. Simply exquisite historical fiction. Winner of the Caledonia Novel Award 2018 and touted as Picador's most spectacular debut for 2019 it is difficult to explain just how sublime this was, and I am almost lost for words to describe the stunning fragility and intrigue this story brings. Set in 1850s Victorian London, the period detail is perfect invoking the sight, scents and sounds of this great city; it's clear Ms Macneal has researche...
  • J.K. Grice
    THE DOLL FACTORY was a splendid journey through the world of Victorian London in the 1850's. Author Elizabeth Macneal weaves a very engaging tale, and takes us from the seamy underside of the city to the grand expanses of the Great Exhibition and the Crystal Palace of Hyde Park. Iris, Rose, Louis, Silas, Albie, and the entire cast of characters she introduces us to are expertly drawn and realized. I felt myself completely immersed in this world p...
  • Darinda
    Two sisters, Iris and Rose, paint dolls for a living. Iris dreams of being an artist, and gets the chance to leave her oppressed working conditions. Rose is jealous, and doesn't want Iris to have a better life than her. The better opportunity is to model for a painter, and in exchange, he will teach her to paint. Meanwhile, Silas, a taxidermist, see Iris and becomes infatuated with her. She is too preoccupied with other things to notice him. That...
  • Juli
    So gothic! So darkly creepy-cool! I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story is set in 1850s Victorian London. Iris and her twin sister Rose work at Mrs. Salter's Doll Factory. But Iris wants more... She isn't content with a life spent painting delicate porcelain dolls. Painting children's playthings or mourning dolls memorializing the dead isn't enough. Iris wants to be a professional artist. She meets two an artist who can help her fu...
  • Faith
    I’m probably not the right audience for this book because I am really tired of “woman-in-jeopardy” stories, especially ones with no surprises. This book has a lot of period detail, all of it dark and some of it completely gross. There is also horrible animal abuse. The plot is completely predictable. From the time the creepy stalker is introduced, you know exactly what’s going to happen. You also know immediately what’s going to happen ...
  • Bam cooks the books ;-)
    Set in London in 1850, the story begins with Iris Whittle and her twin sister Rose painting faces on china heads for a doll maker. But Iris longs to be a real painter and jumps at the chance to be a model for Louis Frost, one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood trained at the Royal Academy which includes Gabriel Rossetti. She will earn some money, yes, but the best part of the bargain is he will provide her with painting lessons. What is the cost? ...
  • Katie (never.ending.reading.list)
    So I didn't hate this one.I actually really loved the last 20% of this book. It was horrifying, well told, a complete page-turner. My problem with this was that the first 80% I found to be pretty boring. I only stuck through to the end because I heard it picked up later on. While I'm glad I read it (the last part was worth it) I can't say I'd read it again if given the chance. I loved the setting, the whole Victorian Era and the Great Exhibition ...
  • Carolyn
    Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this evocative and atmospheric historical novel. Told in lush prose it captures the artistry and vivid colours of the controversial Pre-Raphaelite movement, and artistic and romantic passion. It also places us into the filth, poverty, vice, and reeking squalor of London in the mid-1800s. Foremost in the story is the delusion and deranged obsession of a twisted mind. It is astonishing that this got...