[ARC] The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

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It was very hard to comment about this novel. The story begins in the 1907 with Cathy Wray, young and pregnant, escaping home to London to avoid losing her child to strangers. In London she finds work and home in the toy emporium of Papa Jack.

Papa Jack is a grumpy toy maker, able to craft wonderful toys, almost magical, compelling to every child, who see the emporium as a fantastic place to spend winter days.

Up to this point, The Toy Makers seems an innocuous story: Cathy is accepted, loved, we see beautiful games created by Papa Jack and his sons, Kaspar and Emil, both willing to contribute to the emporium activity.

But soon reality slightly creeps into this beautiful atmosphere: there are the memories of the war in Russia and the emigration to England, then the beginning of the first world war and the soldier’s trauma, and the familiar disputes due to jealousy and resentment, but how much is needed to break the emporium magic?

I needed some days to decide that I liked The Toy Makers a lot: the book takes unexpected paths; the apparent lightness of the context (the magical toys, like Emil’s toy soldiers) has instead more profound implications, partly determined by what happens in the world outside the emporium.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

[ARC] The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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New York, end of the sixties. The four Gold siblings, as a game, to show their courage, decide to visit a sensitive able to tell when a person will die.

From this point of the novel, on, we will follow singularly the lives of Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya, in a sort of passing the baton game.

The four of them start completely different paths, and this allows the author to describe different lifestyles and historical events: the AIDS, the life as con artists, USA post 9/11, the animal used in research, OCD syndrome.

The theme that connects all the stories, and that is the backbone of the whole novel, is the opposition between destiny and free will: the Gold’s lives would have been different if they did not visit the sensitive? With respect to this thematic, the most interesting story is Klara’s the one who wants to be more powerful than destiny, her being always balance between reality and illusion.

The immortalist is a nice novel, in which some episodes are way better than the other ones because they are more focused on the main theme and not “distracted” by other events.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english