Since its UK publication in May, and in the lead up to US publication, this gorgeously evocative historical novel has taken the world by storm. Hitting American shelves for the first time today, published by Emily Bestler Books / Simon & Schuster, rave reviews have been piling in:
“I’ve missed subway stops to finish a book, but this is the first time I almost missed a plane. The final chapters of Elizabeth Macneal’s delightfully creepy novel kept me screwed to my office chair as my wife sent irritated texts from the airport. What more could one want from a Victorian thriller?” Ron Charles, Washington Post
“When a book refuses to shy away from squalor and brutality while venerating the passionate and beautiful, it is always a memorable experience—The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber; The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver; Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. Joining this list of haunting novels is Elizabeth Macneal’s unapologetically lush debut, THE DOLL FACTORY… There is hardly an aspect of Victorian London that [Macneal] has not mastered.” New York Times, Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
The novel has been selected by Barnes & Noble as one of eleven books in their Fall 2019 Program and Bookpage have now named The Doll Factory as one of the Top 10 Books of August, given it a starred review, and featured it in their 8 New Voices To Discover article.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is the intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession…
London. 1850. The greatest spectacle the city has ever seen is being built in Hyde Park, and among the crowd watching two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that 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. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.
But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .
To date, the novel has been sold into 27 territories. Following publication in the UK, it shot straight into The Sunday Times bestseller list, and has spent three weeks in the Top Ten of the South African bestseller list. It is still comfortably in the top 50 of the UK charts.
Acclaimed authors have also been quick to praise the novel:
“A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession.” Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
“An astonishingly good debut. The Doll Factory reminded me of The Crimson Petal and the White, Fingersmith and Vanity Fair but had a richness of tone that was uniquely its own. Macneal writes with utter mastery, creating a lushly intricate world peopled by living, breathing characters you can’t help but fall in love with and a plot that rattles like a speeding carriage to its thrilling conclusion. I couldn’t put it down. You won’t be able to either.” Elizabeth Day, author of The Party
“THE DOLL FACTORY is brilliant, with a refreshingly original quality, beautifully orchestrated narrative, great characters and some fascinating background detail.” Andrew Taylor, author of the #1 Sunday Times bestseller, The American Boy
Elizabeth Macneal was born in Scotland and now lives in East London. She is a writer and potter and works 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 won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018.