Book Review The Doll Factory

Hi everyone!

So today I’m reviewing Elizabeth Macneal’s debut, The Doll Factory

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Title: The Doll Factory

Author: Elizabeth Macneal

Published: April 30th 2019 Uk

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 336

Genres:  Fiction, Historical, Gothic Victorian, Thriller

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

USA RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 13, 2019

The Doll Factory is the debut novel from Elizabeth Macneal. The recipient of the 2018 New Caledonia Novel Award, The Doll Factory is a potent historical tale, exposing a world filled with artistry, passion, compulsion and control. A book that thrusts the reader into days gone by, The Doll Factory is a highly authentic and fresh tale from an emerging author.

The Doll Factory has been a subject to a 14-way bidding war and has been snapped up for television already. I can never resist a shiny new debut, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s an evocative, gothic Victorian thriller which starts slow before building a crescendo to fever pitch.

It won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018 and film and TV rights have sold to Buccaneer Media. It is a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, a Radio 2 Book Club pick, and Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.

You can purchase The Doll Factory (Picador) here. Us August 13

TheDoll Factory was published on 30th April 2019 Uk

by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

Excerpt

He sees a child dart forward and snatch a red handkerchief from a lady’s purse.  He peers closer, recognizing that scruff of pale hair.  The familiarity is a balm, a reminder that he is not alone in this roiling mass of industry.  Silas smiles, and calls out, ‘Albie!’
But the boy does not hear him.  And then Silas understands: he has been caught.  A woman’s hand is on his wrist, the handkerchief a limp flag in his fist, and Silas slips on a piece of turf in his haste to hurry over, readying himself to play Albie’s rescuer, to beg her not to notify the authorities – but then he sees that Albie is laughing.
Silas looks at the woman more closely.  She is as tall as a man and has her red hair tidied into a long plait.  She is – Flick?  Grown up, womanly.  But it cannot be.  This woman has a slight stoop on her left side.
It is as if a bell has been rung in an old house.  Silas has felt the tremor of the wire as it runs deeper into the building, through walls and floors.  He stands transfixed, watching as the vibrations set a series of smaller bells ringing.
He could not say what it means.

– Elizabeth Macneal, The Doll Factory

Opening sentence: 

“When the streets are at their darkest and quietest, a girl settles at a small desk in the cellar of a dollmaker’s shop.”

In the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, we see a marriage of visual art and literature. Their early works are filled with scenes from the literary world, taken from authors such as Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Keats. These works demonstrate the interconnection of artistic expression and the written word in a way that goes far deeper than merely illustrating

Iris is our leading lady. Alongside her twin sister, Rose, they toil away at Mrs Salter’s Doll Emporium creating objects of beauty. But Iris is unsettled. She wants to paint, she wants the freedom to create her own masterpieces, not just what someone demands of her. I did feel for Iris, she is trapped in an uninspiring situation and when she is offered opportunity for something better, she grabs it. I became her cheerleader as I read this book, she is strong, talented and full of ambition.

This new life leads her to become involved in with the pre-Raphaelite’s and we meet the key artistic figures of this movement. Elizabeth Macneal has seamlessly and brilliantly inserted real-life people into a work of fiction. I didn’t know a great deal about the pre-Raphaelite’s before reading this, but after I finished it, I whiled away some time Googling and looking at the stunning works of art and have fallen head over heels for them. I love it when a book prompts me to do a little research!

The story is told from multi-view perspectives, Iris’ as well as from, Albie the street urchin’s and from Silas, an obsessive collector of weird and wonderful things.

Iris and Silas have a brief encounter, after being introduced by Albie, to which they have very different reactions to! As you read this, you do become very aware of a creeping sense of danger and tension. Especially the further along you get in Silas’s narrative. The tension slowly builds and builds and it leads you to a chilling, dramatic conclusion.

If you historical fiction, or are just in the mood for some creepy Victorian fiction, thenThe Doll Factory might be for you. Macneal has captured London perfectly; evoking all the seedy bars and fancy houses and everywhere in between. Her characters are beautifully rendered; they are endlessly fascinating to watch and I was disappointed when the book ended.

It is hard to imagine this is a debut as it is really impressive; great characters, evocative writing and a truly gripping story.

What more can you want out of a book?

Overall a really excellent debut. Highly Recommended.

You can purchase The Doll Factory (Picador) here.

That’s it for today. Thanks so much for stopping by and happy reading!

o

 Born in Scotland, Elizabeth Macneal is a potter based in Limehouse, East London, working from a small studio at the bottom of her garden.  She read English Literature at Oxford University, before working in the City for several years. In 2017, she completed the Creative Writing MA at UEA where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury scholarship. The Doll Factory, Elizabeth’s first book, won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018.  

To learn more about the author of The Doll Factory, Elizabeth Macneal visit here.

Book Tour Everything I Knew To Be True

Hi book-lovers! And welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Everything I Knew to Be True, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours!

This was without a doubt a fantastic and incredibly powerful YA debut, and I’m beyond excited to be introducing this to you guys!

So, without any further adieu, scroll down for book + author info, purchase info and the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Everything I Knew to be True

by Rayna York

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: May 12th 2019

Warning: Although this book is classified as Young Adult, I recommended it for mature readers due to explicit language.

Purchase link :

https://linktr.ee/rayna.york

Synopsis

It was never easy for Cassie and her mother, struggling to make ends meet in their tiny apartment in The

Bronx, but they had each other and that was enough. When her mother dies suddenly from an aggressive form

of cancer, Cassie is forced to finish high school in California while living with the wealthy family of her

mother’s closest friend—a women she never knew existed.

Living with the Stantons is the complete opposite of what she’s used to—the massive house, a father figure,

and Cody, the spoiled, insanely good-looking son with the bedroom across the hall.

Broken with grief and struggling to fit in, Cassie meets Mila, a female powerhouse that helps her cope with a

hidden past, the overwhelming present, and a shared experience no one should have to endure—a nightmare

they both thought was over.

Excerpt One

I stare in numb silence at my mother’s casket, waiting to be lowered into its final resting place.

Everything happened so fast, I’ve hardly had a chance to process it all.

A spilt second image of Mom sitting at our tiny kitchen table flashes through my mind—

that’s where we’d catch up on the daily grind. She had so many outrageous customers, Maria’s antics, her daily goof-ups, but I guess that comes with being a waitress for thirteen years.

I know she tried hard to hide it from me—I can see that now. It started with her being tired all the time and then throwing up constantly—the weight loss was staggering. When she finally went to the doctor, they diagnosed her with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

They gave her three to six weeks to live. Her name was Allora, and I still can’t believe she’s gone.

“Cassie?” Roxanne gently places a hand on my shoulder. “Are you ready?” I look around, momentarily confused. There were so many people here. Where did they go?

I guess I’ve been pretty out of it the last couple of days, which is understandable considering. I swallow hard against the emotional lump that’s jammed in my throat and tell her I need another minute.

“Okay,” she replies solemnly. “I’ll wait for you by the car. Take your time.”

There’s only a marker now. I guess the headstone comes later; at least that’s what they tell me.

I leave for California tonight. Mom made arrangements for me to live with her closest friend—a person I never even knew existed until two weeks ago. I’d always assumed that Mom had grown up in New York—it’s where her parents lived before they died.

Apparently, I was wrong. I begged her to let me stay here with Luigi and Maria—they’re like family. At least then some things would have remained the same. Instead, she insisted I live with Roxanne and her family.

We drive back to the apartment so I can get my stuff. “I won’t be long,” I tell Roxanne, leaving her at the door looking bewildered. I feel bad being thrust on her like this. She doesn’t even know me, and now I’m going to live with her. She seems fine with it, but still.

I can’t believe how empty the place seems. Yeah, all our stuff’s gone, but it’s more than that. Mom was my best friend—my only friend. She made this dinky little hole-in-the-wall a home, made every day special no matter how hard things got—and there were some pretty tough times.

How am I going to start over without her?

I step in to the tiny sunroom and stare out one of the many windows with my arms wrapped tightly around me. Mom surprised me on my thirteenth birthday when she turned it into an art studio. She built shelves and lined them with jars of paintbrushes, pens, and pencils. She even placed an easel in the corner next to the wall of windows, with blank canvases stacked next to it. I know it cost her a lot of money—money we didn’t have to spare—but it was an amazing gift.

Art was everything to me.

My Thoughts

Rayna York, tackles the difficult subjects of death, alcoholism, and teen sexual abuse with effectiveness and polished skill. I highly recommend this excellent book for young adults and parents! One of my top picks for 2019.

After losing her mother, Cassie is forced to leave the only life she’s ever known and travel across the country to live with her mother’s close friend, a women Cassie only recently met. It doesn’t take long for Cassie to realize she didn’t really know her mom like she thought she did.

Secrets come to light and much of what she believed was a lie.

Cassie is full of bitterness and resentment and is struggling with inner turmoil.

Dealing with a new high school and the superficial classmates their eventual Chaos erupts in Cassie Life. Cassie struggles to let anyone get close to her. Will she be able to overcome her emotions before she pushes everyone away, including those who genuinely care?

The author has written a captivating storyline has a with a slow burn romance, blossoming friendship, and a twist that will keep glued to the pages.

The characters are vibrant and well developed and I found myself deeply invested in their lives and the decisions they make.

Everything I Knew to be True is definitely a must read for teens and fans of young adult stories. I recommend picking up a copy, and read this book 📖

“No one at school will say anything against him—fear of retribution and all. No one wants to be on the wrong side of popular.

Enjoyable sentimental contemporary romance with a little twist makes for a fast paced and fun read.

Giveaway Link

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About the Author 

About the Author
Rayna York grew up with hippie parents that liked to adventure, so being the new kid was always a challenge. Where change was the norm, books were her constant–a way to escape. As an adult, many careers came and went, but writing has always been her passion. Everything I knew to be true is her first published novel.

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Special Pre-Order Price of $3.99

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Women’s
Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Date
Published
: 6/18/2019
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Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s
enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the
haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.
Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters
in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of
Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story,
Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key
to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.
The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his
own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so
many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might
have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the
shadows for centuries is fulfilled.
Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in
fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.
A powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the
tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated
by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with
the present—and the present with eternity.
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHEHQjD5Vac&w=320&h=266
Turning
in a circle, Katie studied the room again. Faded wallpaper curled and peeled
above the dusty wainscoting, but the walls themselves appeared sturdy. On the
far side of the entryway, and dominating the wall, stood a mammoth fireplace
with an ornately carved hearth. And above the mantle hung a captivating
painting of a woman in nineteenth-century dress.

“Who is she?”

The sheriff turned to the dusty, sun-bleached portrait in the heavy carved guilt
frame. “One of the previous owners, they say.” He shrugged. “The family history
kind of got lost with the house. Everyone around here calls her the Widow of
Lacewood.”
Katie stood spellbound. The woman was dressed completely in black, but the
magnificence of the gown gave the impression of sophistication and class. Her
chin was slightly elevated as if to project strength, yet there was more than a
hint of sorrow and pain in her eyes.
“She looks so sad.” Katie spoke without removing her gaze. “And so young. How could
she be a widow?”
The sheriff had already started to walk away, but he turned back and glanced at the
painting. “Not sure, but they say she never remarried. She’s the one out in the
cemetery, too, I reckon.”
Katie’s heart suddenly struggled to beat. The anguish in the woman’s eyes kept her
riveted. She could see the pain. Feel a heart ripped apart. Something was
missing that could never be replaced. Katie had felt such loss before. In a
way, that’s why she was here.
“You coming?”

Kati heard the sheriff calling from the next room, and turned to follow. With one
quick glance back, she noticed particles of dust now swirled and danced in a
shaft of light, almost like a living thing. Her breath caught in her throat as
the dust seemed to materialize into the form of a woman, her eyes dull with the
same tortured despair and disbelief as the one in the portrait.
Katie jerked her head around for a closer look and blinked. The woman was gone

Copy of Award-Winning Romantic Suspense Novel Mean to Be

eBook or Audio Download *winners choice*

https://sites.google.com/a/myaddictionisreading.com/20/jessica-james

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Jessica James believes in honor, duty, and true love—and that’s what she writes about
in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to
modern day.
She is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and
has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite
International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of
America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of
libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Contact Links

Website  

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Purchase
Links
Special
Pre-Order Price of $3.99

Six Goodbyes We Never Said Candace Granger

www.goodreads.com/book/show/43178166

Six Goodbyes We Never Said

Candace Granger

Namia -has OCD GAD and is suffering the loss of her father.

Dew -has PTSD and is suffering the loss of both of his parents.

This book takes a look at how differently we deal with grief and mental illnesses.

Dew Desperately trying to reach out to his neighbor Namia. While Namia struggles with letting down her guard. This well written contemporary story will touch your heart in so many ways.

I really enjoyed this book so much.

Interesting and believable characters.

A must read for 2019

I received this complimentary copy from NetGalley for an honest review