Elizabeth Macneal

A gripping debut novel set in the Pre-Raphaelite circle of Victorian London. The winner of the 2018 Caledonia First Novel Award, The Doll Factory will be published in the UK by Picador as their lead debut fiction launch of 2019, with Simon and Schuster / Emily Bestler Books publishing simultaneously in the US.

London, 1850. As the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park, two people meet among the crowd watching the spectacle. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by the strange and beautiful, the 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, and suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since that meeting, and his obsession is darkening.

The Doll Factory is a tale of curiosity, love and possession.  It brings to life the squalor, ambition and sweeping vision of 1851 London, a radical year of art and ambition that would change Britain and the lives within it forever.  Central to the book is the theme of female empowerment. As a young woman, Iris’s dreams are constrained by society, but she is compelled forward by a dogged resilience and a tenacious desire to become the person she knows she is.



One of the most heart-stopping, gripping books I have ever read.

Sophie Jonathan, Senior commissioning editor at Picador
Sophie Jonathan , Senior commissioning editor at Picador


Historical fiction

UK Publication

Picador / Macmillan, 2019

US Publication

Simon & Schuster / Emily Bestler Books

Rights Sales

UK & Commonwealth: Picador / Macmillan
US: Simon & Schuster / Emily Bestler Books
Canadian: Simon & Schuster Canada
Bulgarian: Colibri
Chinese (Complex): Marco Polo
Croat: Stilus
Czech: Albatros Media
Danish: Lindhardt og Ringhoff
Dutch: The House Of Books
Estonian: Pegasus
French: Presses de la Cite
German: Eichborn / Luebbe
Greek: Psichogios
Hungarian: Geopen
Italian: Einaudi
Latvian: Zvaigzne
Lithuanian: Alma Littera
Polish: GW Foksal
Portuguese (EU): Topseller
Romanian: ART Publishing House
Russian: Exmo
Serbian: Laguna
Slovak: Albatros
Slovenian: Ucila
Spanish: Ediciones B
Swedish: Bokforlaget Forum
Turkish: Pena Yayinlari
Ukrainian: FLC / Hemiro