I am absolutely thrilled that my novel The Doll Factory will be published by Picador in the UK as their lead debut, and by Simon and Schuster in the US, in Spring/Summer 2019. It will be translated into over 25 languages. It won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018.
The Doll Factory is a tale of curiosity, love and possession. It is set in London in 1850 as The Great Exhibition is being constructed 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 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 art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since that meeting, and his obsession is darkening.
My wonderful UK editor, Sophie Jonathan, described it as 'one of the most heart-stopping, gripping books I have ever read. Every character is brilliantly realised and I know no heroine like Iris - the way she pushes up against the world in which she finds herself made her captivating for me. This is a novel of myriad themes - art and self-expression, love and friendship and sisterhood, the balance of power between men and women, and the sort of dark obsession that sees passivity as a mark of female beauty - and because of that, it is a novel that demands discussion and debate.'
And my equally wonderful agent, Madeleine Milburn, described it as 'a truly captivating story that will appeal just as much to historical fiction fans as people who don’t think they read historical.'