Tuesday 7th May at 7pm; Rossiter Books, Ross on Wye – Ticket £3
Join debut novellist Elizabeth Macneal and discover her much-accleaimed novel, The Doll Factory.
An intoxicating tale of art, obsession and possession, The Doll Factory is set in London in 1850/51, and tells the story of Iris, an apprentice doll-maker who dreams of being a painter, and of Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by the strange and beautiful with ambitions of founding a museum dedicated to his macabre obsessions.
The Great Exhibition is being constructed in Hyde Park, and two people meet among the crowd. For Iris, it is the encounter of a moment, forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, the meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model from the 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 the new dual freedoms of art and love. But Silas has thought of one thing only since that chance encounter, and his obsession is darkening.
The Doll Factory brings vividly to life the London of 1851, a radical year of art and ambition that would change Britain and the lives within it. It places her imagined, fictional characters in the midst of real figures such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais and Lizzie Siddal. Central to the novel is the theme of female empowerment: Iris’s dreams, talent, actions and ambitions are constrained by society but she is compelled forward by dogged resilience and a tenacious desire to fulfil her vocation and to become the person she knows herself to be.
‘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 Ashes of London