The Doll Factory
Macneal is excellent on the tension between idealised women and the reality . . . The Doll Factory is a remarkably strong debut; clever and readable with flashes of wonderful, descriptive prose (Book of the Month The Times)
The Doll Factory is an intoxicating story of a young woman who aspires to be an artist, and the man whose obsession may destroy her world for ever.
It's 1850 and Iris wants nothing more than to be an artist. The greatest spectacle London has ever seen is being built in Hyde Park and it's while in the crowd that she meets Silas, a collector entranced by anything strange and beautiful.
Soon after, Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost and she agrees on the condition that he teach her to paint. This opens a world of opportunities for her, but Silas is also becoming dangerously obsessed with everything Iris does...