Blurb (as on Goodreads):
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 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, to become a place of art and love.
But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .
I have to say this out loud- I was crestfallen by this story. A peek into the synopsis left me thinking that this would be somewhere along the lines of ‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell, a thriller with elements of fantasy and a whole lot of mystery. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that this was just a story about love and obsession.
Iris and Rose- twins who work at this emporium that makes the perfect dolls. Silas, a craftsman who make stuffed toys out of carcasses and Louis who is a painter and has big dreams and aspirations. These characters come together in this tale of murder, mayhem and unrequited love.
The problem lies with the narration. It’s far less intriguing, and that switch from one chapter to the next is turbulent. The timelines keep changing without a warning, and there is a whole bunch of meaningless conversation happening now and then.
I do not say that the plot lacked potential, its a good story with a lot of misplaced elements. But it failed to grab my attention at any given point. I, personally wouldn’t recommend you this book, but if you are new to the ‘suspense’ genre, you can give this a try.
*Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own*