It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Today marks UK publication day for Elizabeth Macneal’s The Doll Factory (Macmillan / Picador).

There’s been a huge amount of excitement surrounding The Times’ (newly announced) Book of the Month in the run up to publication, and Elizabeth has been featured widely in the national press. Back in January, she was named as one of The Observer‘s ‘hottest tipped debut novelists of 2019‘, and an interview with her featured in the Sunday Times in April. Earlier this week, The Times called the novel ‘a remarkable example of historical fiction.’

BBC Radio 4 will be using The Doll Factory as part of their ‘Book at Bedtime‘, it will be featured on the BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley – one of only six to be featured, and Elizabeth will be touring the country to promote her beautiful book.

Elizabeth was the winner of the Caledonia Award for unpublished and self-published novelists in 2018 – picked out of 350 entries from 26 different countries. Since selling to Macmillan / Picador after a fourteen-way auction in the UK, and Simon & Schuster / Emily Bestler Books in the US, the novel has sold into 30 territories overall. Film & TV rights to the novel have sold to Buccaneer Media.

Set in the Pre-Raphaelite circle of Victorian London, the novel follows Iris, an aspiring artist…

London, 1850. As the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park, two people meet among the crowd watching the spectacle. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by the strange and beautiful, the 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, and suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since that meeting, and his obsession is darkening.

The Doll Factory is a tale of curiosity, love and possession.  It brings to life the squalor, ambition and sweeping vision of 1851 London, a radical year of art and ambition that would change Britain and the lives within it forever.  Central to the book is the theme of female empowerment. As a young woman, Iris’s dreams are constrained by society, but she is compelled forward by a dogged resilience and a tenacious desire to become the person she knows she is.

World renowned authors have given brilliant endorsements for The Doll Factory:

“A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession.” Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“Stunningly confident first novel with real sense of period and place, plus storytelling chops.”  Ian Rankin

“Fantastic – vivid, poignant, colourful, and elegantly horrifying.”  Bridget Collins, author of The Binding

“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.

Born in Scotland, Elizabeth Macneal is a potter based in Limehouse, East London, working 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.