Book Review, Favourite

Blog Tour / Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

I can scarcely contain my excitement as it is my stop today on the blog tour for The Toymakers. I cannot tell you enough how absolutely enchanted I was by this book and how The Toymakers is one of the best books I have ever read.


Do you remember when you believed in magic?

It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment.

The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.

But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own.

My Review: 5 / 5 my all-time favourite stars

Wow, just wow. You know that feeling you have when you finish a great book that you do not want to let go? That you try to savour every bit of detail and every last word because somehow this book, this story, these characters have made their way into your heart? This is how The Toymakers made me feel.

Four things I did when I finished this book:

1. I held it against my chest and just let these feelings wash over me. Anger, sadness and joy for as long as I could.

2. I went back to read the passages and parts that I have highlighted so I could relive those moments

3. I went on Amazon and purchased all of Robert Dinsdale’s books

4. I started to construct my review as I was worried I would never be able to do this book justice.

The Toymakers story begins in the early 1900’s with Cathy Wray, a 15-year-old girl, running away from home so she could keep her unborn child from being adopted by another family. She came to Papa Jack’s Emporium, a toyshop in London. It was here where magic really exists, where patchwork dogs were running around, horses were rocking on their own accord, and toy soldiers seem to have a mind of their own. It was here where she met the man who built this emporium and it was here where she fell in love with Kaspar, the oldest son of Papa Jack. The stories take us through a period of over half a century, involving a cast of characters through the First World War and Second World War to the 1950’s.

I was spellbound from the very beginning. It was a magical story about love, jealousy, family, longing, loss, grief and hope. Robert Dinsdale’s writing is so delicate and so exquisite. It gave me butterflies as I read along. It was like going on an adventure: you don’t know where you are heading but you know you are being taken care of and in safe hands. It was so richly imagined, one minute I was sitting in my lounge reading, the next minute I was transported back in time to Papa Jack’s Emporium with absolute delight where patchwork dogs with black button eyes yap with cotton-muted voices.

There is just something so extraordinary about the way Robert Dinsdale unfolds the story and so unique about the way he develops the characters. Some are charming, some are delightful, some are mysterious and some are pitiful. You cannot help yourself but fall madly in love with some of them; and cannot help yourself but feel pity towards the others. Robert’s writing is incredibly enchanting, it’s like he has given magic to his words, they are amazingly sophisticated without being pretentious.

This is not just a book about toys, this is so much more. Through these magical toys, we see what war can do to the human mind and it is also through these toys that we see the most beautiful things can emerge from it – hope and love. There were moments when I was reminded of the joy I felt when I was given a new toy growing up, a joy that nothing could ever compare to when you are just so little. These toys and whatever was contained inside them seemed like a whole world in itself. And these are the very reasons why this book had such a profound impact on me.

You see, there is a secret place in everyone’s heart. I still have my ballerinas tucked away on top of my closet in my childhood bedroom in my parents’ house. It has probably been 20 years since I last touched them or played with them, but I just can’t bring myself to throw them away. They hold so many incredible memories that I feel like I would be throwing a part of me away if I let them go. I keep thinking that when I have a little girl of my own, I will finally be able to let them go to her. They are not just toys, but memories, passed on from generation to generation, passed on from parent to child. It is all so magical as we are all just children at heart.

Thank you Robert for writing this incredible book and make me experience emotions that I have not experienced for such a long time. This book truly speaks to my heart and soul and no doubt is going to be on my top read list of 2018. If you only need to pick up one book this year, pick this one up.

Thank you so much Joise and Ebury Publishing for sending me an advance copy of The Toymakers. This truly is one of the best books I have ever read. Thank you.

Purchase Links:



Book Depository

About The Author:

Robert Dinsdale was born in North Yorkshire and currently lives in Leigh-on-sea. He is the author of three previous critically acclaimed novels: The Harrowing, Little Exiles and Gingerbread. He has a young daughter, and The Toymakers is a book he couldn’t have written without the experience of being a father for the rst time. The idea for it came to him, almost fully-formed, in a toyshop with his daughter. The Toymakers is his first venture into magic….

Please check out the other blog posts throughout the tour

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