I stumbled across a website called NetGalley early last month, which allows Publishers to send books to the media and bloggers/influencers before they are released for free in return for a review.
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to read The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale before general release and I fell in love with it entirely!
Are you lost? Are you afraid? Are you a child at heart?
So are we.
The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter.
Sales and stocking, no experience required. Bed and board included.
Apply in person at London’s premier merchant for toys and childhood paraphernalia.
Papa Jack’s Emporium
Iron Duke Mews, London W1K
I read an excerpt posted by Penguin in mid-December and fell in love with Robert Dinsdale’s writing – the magic practically jumps off the page and you are automatically transported into the world of Papa Jack’s Emporium, a toyshop filled with wonders never seen or even imagined before. The poetic richness of the descriptions allows you to experience the scenes as if you were standing in the very room. Never before has the idea of paper trees or toy soldiers been so enticing and awe-inspiring!
The plot follows several characters as they grow up, between 1907-1953. It spans both World Wars and the tragic impact their events have on the shop hands, as well as the shop itself, creating twists and turns that you would never expect from a book which has a toyshop as the focal place. The heartwarming interactions between characters quickly turns sinister and heartbreaking as the years progress and each character develops from child into adult, the world outside of the Emporium shaping them.
The fairytale-like story invites you into its world and traps you in a nostalgic whirlwind of childhood excitement mixed with the realism and pain of growing up and letting go of the past. Each member of the narrative has their own issues to deal with and accept, making them all the more human and relatable. They are brilliantly formed with flaws and sometimes questionable motives and morals, meaning there aren’t any solid ‘good’ or ‘bad’ characters – but rather the reader is left to decide whose decisions they support and justify.
The story entwines the aeons-old themes of rivalry, love, war, family and what the idea of home really is into a wonderfully magically tale which will forever stick in my mind. The end gives a beautiful close to the characters’ evolutions and was satisfying, rather than leaving any large gaps or ‘what if?’s – a mark of a good book!
‘If you’re going to make a toy, you have to hold one truth as inviolable above all others: that, once upon a time, all of us, no matter what we’ve grown up to do or who we’ve grown up to be, were little boys and girls, happy with nothing more than bouncing a ball against a wall.’
I didn’t want to publish this before it was released as I didn’t want anyone to have to wait to read this!! It has already secured a place in my top 10 books and I can’t wait to re read it!