Bren's Reviews > The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
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it was ok
bookshelves: dark-and-heavy, nature, historical-mystery, historical, read-and-reviewed, gothic, skimmed-to-finish-or-unfinished
Recommended for: Fans of Historical Gothic/Horror Fiction.

Rating and review coming soon.

I 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 much I skimmed or ignored entirely because of this issue. If these things DO NOT bother you, you may indeed like this book. I skimmed to finish. Not the writer's fault. She writes beautifully. But I cannot read a book with intense animal cruelty that starts literally on page one. I do understand the main character is a taxidermist but there is such focus on what he does to the animals. He also thinks nothing of murdering an animal to work on it in his store. It was all a bit much.


I love Historical Fiction and I love Gothic novels which is what I understood this book to be and in a sense it is but did not know how brutal it was and most importantly the unrelenting scenes of dead animals were nauseating and really interfered with any enjoyment of this book. As I said, it is well written, beautifully written actually, but is not at all for people who loath graphic scenes of Taxidermy, animals being murdered, and animal brutality as it is pretty much through the whole book. I am not one who stops reading all that easily and I have read books with one or two scenes of animal brutality and I usually dock a star but this is unrelenting, throughout the book and I wish I had looked more closely on what it was about. My mistake.

I would also describe this as more of a Horror/Gothic then Traditional Historical Fiction.It is more geared toward Horror in my opinion then even Gothic. This is a pretty twisted story that made me think of the show "American Horror story".


She writes beautifully about the time period and the book is genuinely frightening at some points. I understand why it has such positive reviews as if one likes Historical Gothic fiction and do not have issues such as I described that would like this most likely.

In short..I made a mistake with this one. Not for me at all.
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Reading Progress

July 30, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
July 30, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Hardcover Edition)
August 22, 2019 – Shelved
August 22, 2019 – Shelved as: dark-and-heavy
August 22, 2019 – Shelved as: nature
August 22, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-mystery
August 22, 2019 – Shelved as: historical
August 22, 2019 – Shelved as: read-and-reviewed
Started Reading
August 24, 2019 – Shelved as: gothic
August 24, 2019 – Shelved as: skimmed-to-finish-or-unfinished
August 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Great review Bren and I[m with you all the way on the animal cruelty. Definitely won't be reading this even though I've picked it up once or twice in the bookshop.


message 2: by Paige (new)

Paige Great review! I had read there was a taxidermist, but did not realize there was animal cruelty. Good to know!


message 3: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Thanks for the warning, Bren.


Bren Caroline wrote: "Thanks for the warning, Bren."

No problem Caroline.


Bren Paige wrote: "Great review! I had read there was a taxidermist, but did not realize there was animal cruelty. Good to know!"

There is indeed a Taxidermist but the scenes are brutal. And there are so many queasy scenes. He murders a puppy for example to "work" on it. I almost got sick. It was..a bit much.


Bren Teresa wrote: "Great review Bren and I[m with you all the way on the animal cruelty. Definitely won't be reading this even though I've picked it up once or twice in the bookshop."

This is a tough one because she writes so beautifully and without that aspect of it I'd most likely have given it a 4 or 5.


☕️Hélène⚜️ I got it today so it’s on my list to read


Bren ☕️Hélène⚜️ wrote: "I got it today so it’s on my list to read"

I hope you enjoy it more than I did. Let me know what you think.


message 9: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Thank you Bren, I was interested in this book but after reading your honest review, think I will pass.


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Uh oh. Thanks so much for this review, Bren. I think I’ll take this off my to read list.


message 11: by Bren (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bren Nancy wrote: "Thank you Bren, I was interested in this book but after reading your honest review, think I will pass."

Hi Nancy. I know many people like myself who cannot stand animal cruelty in books. If not for that I think I'd have liked it more.


message 12: by Bren (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bren Lisa wrote: "Uh oh. Thanks so much for this review, Bren. I think I’ll take this off my to read list."

The story is beautifully written but the Taxadermy stuff and animal cruelty was to much for me.


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