Review: The Dollmaker – Nina Allen

Title: The Dollmaker
Author: Nina Allen
Page Count: 416
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★★✯☆☆ (2.5 – can’t put a half star so you get something fancier)


I got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not 💜

Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy. The Dollmaker is the ultimate Marmite book – you will either love it or you’re going to have a bad time with it. I was the latter.

Now, it’s very important to point out that I will most likely be in the minority with this. There are a LOT of people who absolutely love and cannot get enough of this book, but I tried. I tried so hard to love a book with an excellent cover and an opening paragraph about murder.

Let me set the scene first.

Ever since he was a kid, Andrew was obsessed with dolls. Not modern day ones, but instead he developed a fascination with those from the Victorian era. He wanted to Pokemon the shit out them and get them all – not for monetary gain, but rather because he appreciated their looks and craftsmanship. It’s a lonely existence when it comes to niche hobbies which lead him right to Bramber; his new penpal.

This is a tale of his journey to meet Bramber face to face and he did what all humans should do when they get stuck in fart-cans-on-wheels for prolonged periods of time. He brought his favourite book of short stories by an author called Ewa Chaplain.

This is where things get jarring. Those short stories get woven into the book and it feels like a printing error. I was someone who’d struggled to get into the plot in the first place and then I get presented with short stories mid-chapter so, naturally, my brain did a little cry. Basically, I spent more time re-reading sections to make sure I understood what had just happened than I’d like to admit…

The other thing – I actually found those short stories really interesting and wanted to know more only to be thrown back into the main story just when I was getting right into it. There were times when I probably looked like a right huffy little brat with a face like thunder on my commutes. Anyone would think I was trying to solve a work conundrum rather than trying to follow along with the book’s plot.

What’s annoying me the most is that I loved Andrew and Bramber’s story and I was also intrigued by the short stories. I just really, really needed them to be separate so my tiny brain could keep up.

This is by no means a bad book. The writing is fluid and the stories are interesting; it just wasn’t my thing ????

The Dollmaker will be published on the 4th April 2019.