The Dollmaker – Nina Allan

I loved this book from the first page and had high hopes for it as I was sent it to review for an award. The two main characters Andrew, a dwarf who is a dollmaker, and a young woman Bramber, who is in an institution, were so beautifully described that I could visualise them as well as empathise with their problems. I really enjoyed the insertion of the short stories, ostensibly by another dollmaker, which seemed to reflect on the happenings in the main characters lives. Andrew and Bramber become penpals so their story unfolds in a series of revealing letters between the two. At this point the story is quite magical but, once Andrew decides to make a journey in order to turn up unannounced at Bramber’s door I started to shout in my head to Andrew that this was the last thing he ought to do. His journey, which takes many days, increases the tension in the story as the author tells of the places he found himself in and the characters he met. On the way he stops to visit an exhibition of dolls which features one which Andrew has held in great esteem for many years. He spots an opportunity to steal this rather menacing creature as a gift for the ill fated Bramber giving the reader another reason to feel that everything he’s doing is wrong on so many levels. However, sadly for me, the eventual meeting of these two did not live up to my expectations so I felt it was a bit of a let down and could have been made much more of! Before the last few pages I had loved everything about the book – the characters, the writing and the way the story unfolded so was left with a rather empty feeling as I finished the last page.

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