Nadia's Reviews > The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
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3.5 stars

Set 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 Silas are briefly introduced at an exhibition. While Iris forgets Silas in an instant, for Silas this moment represents a lifechanging encounter. Socially awkward Silas dreams about Iris day and night. Completely delusional about her feelings, he believes she feels the same.

I found the pace of the novel a bit slow to start with. Despite the book being atmosperic and the writing reminiscent of the Victorian era, it took me some time to get into it. It wasn't until about 80%, that my heartbeat finally increased. The story takes a sudden turn and I felt like I was reading a thriller. From this point I could not put the book down. To then come to an abrupt end, leaving me wishing for more, was frustrating and unfortunate.

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

October 26, 2018 – Shelved
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 3, 2019 – Started Reading
January 10, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 14, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Shaina (new) - added it

Shaina Ooh, it does sound thrilling! Great review. Silas sounds like a bit of a creeper!


Nadia Thank you, Shaina! Maybe I was too harsh with my rating, but the book was very average until the last few chapters.. And yes, Silas is a super creep!


Beata Grand review, Nadia :)) I guess I'll add it as I have a soft spot got HF set in the Victorian times :))


Nadia Thanks Beata 🙂
In that case, you should definitely give it a go! It was very atmospheric.


JV (semi-hiatus) Looks awesome! Will check this out. Marvellous review, Nadia! 😊


Nadia Thank you, JV! 💙


message 7: by sue (new) - added it

sue Sounds enticing


Nadia Yes and no. I expected a bit more tbh, but most reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars so I'm in the minority...


message 9: by Shaina (new) - added it

Shaina Oh, nah. As long as it is what you feel and you put your heart into it you can’t go wrong. ;)


message 10: by Felicia (new)

Felicia Terrific review, Nadia 💖 I'll definitely be passing on this one.


Nadia Thanks Felicia! Very sensible 💙


Robin It’s a bit of a relief to find someone who hasn’t given it four or five stars. I’m 50% in and thinking about adding it to my Did Not Finish shelf. I should love it. I’m a fun of pre raphaelite era writing but the characters have no depth and are, in general, not very likeable. I keep waiting for some kind of pay off but I have the feeling it’s just not there. Thank you for your review.


Nadia Robin wrote: "It’s a bit of a relief to find someone who hasn’t given it four or five stars. I’m 50% in and thinking about adding it to my Did Not Finish shelf. I should love it. I’m a fun of pre raphaelite era ..."

Yeah, I definitely struggled with this one to start with.. the good news is that it does get better towards the end! But overall, I was much less impressed than my fellow GR readers.. good to know it's two of us now! :)


message 14: by Edie (new)

Edie I agree with Nadia....it was an abrupt ending...wish she would have expanded it a little more


Nadia Edie wrote: "I agree with Nadia....it was an abrupt ending...wish she would have expanded it a little more"

Agreed Edie! It ended as soon as I started enjoying it! Hope your next book is better.


message 16: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Great review Nadia ! Sorry it wasn’t amazing - I’m still debating whether to read this one :/


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