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The Toymakers

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,221 ratings  ·  1,111 reviews
Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Ebury Digital
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Katherine no, not by the slightest but it will be more appreciated by those nostalgic for their own childhood.

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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,221 ratings  ·  1,111 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
Are you lost? Are you afraid? Are you a child at heart?

I never thought that there would ever be another book that would make me experience all the emotions The Night Circus brought to surface. The awe, the magic, the sadness and the hope. Naturally, I was immediately drawn to the story of The Toymakers, but I thought that it would be an elegant fairytale, a book to prepare me for the festive reads of this years Christmas thats fastly approaching. But this novel by Robert Dinsdale proved to be
Robert Dinsdale has written a richly detailed and imaginative historical story of the place toys have in the hearts of both children and adults through Papa Jack's Emporium located on Iron Duke Mews in London. It begins in the early part of the 20th century with a pregnant 16 year old Cathy running away from home to work at the Emporium which offers accommodation. A traumatised Papa Jack Godman began to comprehend the role that toys have for a child and the importance of accessing that childhood ...more
Kevin Ansbro
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
Albert Einstein

Small-town teen, Cathy Wray,
finds herself in the family way.
(I'm a poet, yet didn't know it).
She is also desperate to escape her parents, who want her pregnancy kept secret and the baby given up for adoption.
But then a serendipitous moment occurs; a highlighted ad in a newspapers situations vacant column: a position at a toymakers store, Papa John's Emporium, in London.
As if guided by a deity, Cathy hightails
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-books
A magical story about a magical toy emporium. Some reviewers liken it to The Night Circus. They are right!

I must admit to moments during the book when things were a bit too sweet, a bit too perfect, but then along came World War 1 and everything changed. The last chapters of the book are actually quite dark and the ending is amazing. I was stunned at the eventual outcome.

The author writes well and has an excellent imagination. I felt sorry for the toy soldiers and how I wished I could have seen
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, arc
I struggled with this. It took me about two months to read and I never felt compelled to pick it up. This is not a bad book by any means and I am still struggling to pinpoint what did not work for me. So stick with me as I am trying to figure out my thoughts.

I adored the first chapter and was absolutely convinced I would love the book to pieces. It brilliantly introduces Cathy, knocked-up and desperate, who flees her parents home to find work in Papa Jacks Emporium. Her sense of desperation is
Umut Rados
2.5 stars. Another book that doesnt give itself away with the blurb. I dont know you, but I get really annoyed when books turn out to be really different than what they promise in the blurb. Until about 40% mark, we were following Cathy in 1900s London. She was an interesting main character, who found herself working in a toy shop. Theres also a magical realism aspect to this book. But, something happens (which I dont want to give away), and after that, the book took a completely different ...more
Charlotte May
Update 26/11/2020

This is in my December pile and I cant wait! ❄


I'm taking this off of my currently reading for the moment. Not because I'm not enjoying it (tbh I've only actually read the prologue) but because I've got way too many books on my currently reading (particularly library books) I will come back to this as soon as I've got those down a bit :)
I loved The Toymakers. This was a truly magical and emotional tale.

I was sad to leave Papa Jacks Emporium. It was a safe place so full of wonder, love, friendship, hope and the magic of toys. The whole place came to life in front of my eyes. I was surrounded by toys the whole time I was reading this book. It was such a delight.

However, this book is not all fun and games. While one brother obsesses over his toy soldiers in the Emporium, another is made to face a much darker world outside those
Dannii Elle
"Do you remember when you believed in magic?"

Set inside a magical toy shop, in the heart of 1940's London, where paper trees grow in front of your eyes, patchwork dogs act like breathing ones, and doll houses are bigger than most city compartments live Kaspar and Emil. Two brothers who travelled, with their estranged father Papa Jack, to this foreign city to make their home and perfect their craft. The toy shop has grown and every year, at first frost, the lost, the afraid, and the
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale is a story of Cathy a teenage runaway who takes a job in Papa Jack's Emporium. A place where magical toys are made and sold by toymaker Jekabs and his two sons.
I enjoyed the imagination and the description of the toys that were created. I really liked the character of Cathy. I would like to thank NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

There's so much to like in this book- the Emporium is truly a magical place, somewhere a patchwork dog can run, and play, and love. It brings to mind every Christmas film you've ever seen, Santa's factory brought once more to life within the pages of the book. Such a place might seem inimical to disaster but conflict arrives in the form of a young girl, pregnant and in search of a place to survive. Cathy is the instant and everlasting focus of two brothers, Emil and Kaspar, whose
Helene Jeppesen
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a magical toy shop that opens every year on the first day of frost. On this opening day, eager children run to the shop with lights in their eyes to find magical toys such as paper tree houses and moving toy soldiers.
Cathy is the novels protagonist, and when we first meet her she is pregnant and stumbles across a help needed add from Papa Jacks Emporium, the magical toy shop. Cathy has nowhere else to go and decides to go for the job which means the beginning of a whole
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A magical, wintery tale about a lost young woman and the toy shop that rescues her. Cathy is a pregnant runaway taken in by the family of Papa Jons Emporium - a toy shop that sells the unimaginable. With a story that spans 50 years, we see Cathy and Papa Jons children, Kasper and Emil, go through sibling rivalries, jealousy and two world wars all set against the backdrop of this wonderful shop.

The writing style is hauntingly
Louise Wilson
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. Across the city, when children wake to see the ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice cracking underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open. In the heart of Mayfair, there is a place of hope. A place where children's dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible - that place is Papa Jack's Toy Emporium. For years Papa Jack has created his famous and magical toys. Into the family comes a ...more
3.5/5. An imaginative and magical story about a toymaker, his sons and a runaway finding refuge in their legendary toy store, Papa Jacks Emporium. The detailed descriptions of the store and its inhabitants various incredible inventions reminded me of the beautiful writing in The Night Circus and made for a really fun reading experience.
It was a rather slow read for me though and especially around the middle the story dragged quite a bit. Moreover, while I think there were some very interesting
Karen ⊰✿
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, uno_2018
Not all magical realism is the same, and this is a great example of the genre.
Welcome to The Emporium where you walk into a toy shop, but are transported to a world of wonder where toys seem to have lives of their own and magic is around every corner.
Papa Jack runs The Emporium with his two sons and in 1917 we follow Cathy Wray as she discovers and starts to work at The Emporium. It opens every year at the first frost and closes when the first snowdrop blooms. During the warmer months, Papa Jack
Lucy Banks
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Richly written, full of magic - a lovely book.

Others have compared this book to The Night Circus, and for good reason; as it has similarly rich, lyrical language, and deeply evocative descriptions.

The novel follows Cathy, a pregnant young runaway, who finds herself at Papa Jack's Emporium in London. This is no ordinary toy shop, as hints of magic rule every aisle; from soldiers able to do battle of their own
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Type: Standalone
POV: Third Person

Cathy Wray was so young but already in desperate need of a start over. She stumbled upon an advertisement that took her to Papa Jacks Toy Emporium - a magical place for kids and adults alike. There, she met brothers Emil and Kaspar Goodman who showed her that life would never again be anything but ordinary.

Why, theyll come here and play with your toys one winter, then come to vandalise the next. Well, we ought to be showing
I was starting to read this book thinking it would be a heartwarming feelgood story full of magic. That was slightly wrong, it was more of a typical historical novel set in war time, with the addition of some small fantasy elements. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.

The characters are immensely interesting. Even if there not always likable, there flaws and mistakes were presented in a way that the reader could understand where they were coming from. It also made them more believable as
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Toymakers opens in 1906 with Cathy, a pregnant sixteen-year-old who runs away from home in order to avoid being forced to give up her baby. She sees an advert for a sales person for Papa Jacks Emporium, a toy shop with a legendary status, and buys a one-way ticket to London. It wasnt quite magical realism because the fantastical elements in the toy shop were not presented as the mundane, it was clear other shops dont offer flying patchwork reindeer or Tardis-like wendy houses, for instance, ...more
Wow - Prepare for me to gush about this utter gem of a book because gush I must!

The Toymakers is a magical, compelling and mesmerising read that totally absorbed me and has changed the way I'll look at toys forever.

The writing is flawlessly beautiful and engaging and the characters are so well drawn that I feel I've left friends behind. The author vividly portrays the most magnificent awe inspiring scenes, totally capturing the wonders of childhood and the excitement of Christmas. This is
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A magical toyshop, a family who can make the ordinary become extraordinary and a runaway girl looking for a new place to call home.

This book - there is no other word for it but magical. Think The Night Circus meets the childish wonder and imagination of Toy Story, and youve got it - all set in pre-First World War London.

The descriptions in this book and how the emporium
Feb 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If there was a minus star rating I would gladly give it! This book is completely ridiculous! I'm sorry I'm usually not fond of writing such harsh words about an author's work but I hated this book!
The idea was good but the execution so poorly!
When I started reading I expected a world full of magic but instead I came across tragedy and ridiculous situations!
The only characters I liked were Kaspar, Martha, Papa Jack and a patchwork dog but they weren't enough for me to care about reading further
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tragic and beautiful. A lovely story about a woman and her life at a toyshop where two brothers and their father create magical toys.
Cathy Wray comes to the Emporium in answer to an ad. She's young, pregnant, and looking for a way to keep her baby. Cathy becomes entwined in the brothers' (Kaspar and Emil) lives, working first as a shopgirl, before marrying older brother Kaspar, who's brilliant designs regularly outshine Emil's. Emil never feels that he measures up, and suffers envy and jealousy
Abbie | ab_reads
3.5 stars
This book is such a good choice for curling up with on a weekend before Christmas! I loved the atmosphere Dinsdale created around Papa Jacks Emporium, walking the line between imagination and magic, perfectly capturing the childhood sense of wonder of walking into a toyshop (or bookstore). However, I think it could have been at least 150 pages shorter, the ending seemed to drag on forever. But I thought the topics of PTSD and war were quite well-handled, and the characters were
Kelly Furniss
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the stunning cover and then also reading that the magical element was likened to 'The Night Circus' which is a book I really enjoyed.
I also kept thinking of the film Toy Story and upon now reviewing this book to call it a likeness miss mash of these and War would be a fair summary.
The tale starts with Cathy who at 16 and pregnant answers a newspaper add to work in Papa Jack's Emporium, she sees it as her chance to escape from entering the home
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really loved the first half of this book. Magical, lyrical, poetic and had me completely engaged with it. Papa Jack is an excellent background character and the Emporium and Cathy's story are wonderful.

Then it changes - I'll not give anything away. While Cathy and Papa Jack are excellent Kasper and particularly his brother, never seemed to quite fulfil the early promise. Equally the second half felt overly drawn out to me. I still think it's a very good read but... I read Little Exiles by this
Yvette Adams
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was magical. 😍 I loved it from the first chapter... the first line even. So it's my first five star book of the year. I would dearly love this to be made into a movie. Lots of CGI required! It was coincidentally a lovely book to read at christmas.
Hadas Tsury
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't even begin to describe how amazing this book is! Read it! You won't regret it!
I had the privilege to be one of the first people to read this book (which comes out on 8th February 2018) - courtesy of Ebury Publishing and thanks to my friends from Parabatai Reviews for offering me a copy.

Given that I have already read so many books as well as a great variety of them, nowadays it is hard that a book is able to make me drop everything Ive got to do so I can immerse myself in it but there are, gladly, exceptions. From its first lines, I felt the magic The Toymaker carries
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Robert Dinsdale was born in North Yorkshire and currently lives in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.


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