Good morning everyone I’m pleased to finally be able to share my review of The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward today as part of the blog tour. Huge apologies to Emma and Bloodhound books for the delay in posting this, my ten month old has got his first cold and is very clingy which makes doing anything difficult.
Before I share my review with you here is a little bit about the book.
A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire.
A girl dies from a nut allergy.
A woman falls under a train during the rush hour.
An accountant falls down the steps to his basement.
Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll.
But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied?
When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants…
The Doll Collector is available now in ebook and paperback. The ebook is currently only 99p but you can purchase a copy of both here.
The Doll Collector is an unsettling, surprising book which was a very intense read. The blurb sells it as a serial killer book but I actually think it’s a lot more complicated than that as there is quite a complex plot going on.
The author has created some very interesting characters that whilst obviously not very nice people, and quite disturbed in the case of Gloria, have something about them that makes you feel sorry for them. Gloria for example is obviously a very complex character whose desperate need for love makes her behave a little obsessively flinging herself on any available male. However she has obviously had a traumatic past being abandoned by her parents in a filthy bedsit which has caused most of her problems and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her at times. The same could be said for Ian, one of the estate agents who is definitely a nasty piece of work through most of the book but is influenced heavily by his dad who has some very strong views on how things should be. I also felt a bit sorry for him as despite being under his dad’s thumb he does have a conscious and realises that he is behaving wrongly.
My favourite character was Maurice who seemed like a very gentle, kind man who has fallen on hard times since the death of his mother. His constant battle with Ian and his father over the rent for his flat is heartbreaking to read about especially when you realise the back story involved in all of it. I was very nervous for him when he gets Gloria as a lodger and hoped that he wouldn’t become part of her macabre doll collection as I had developed a bit of a soft spot for him.
The story is incredible fast paced which makes the book hard to put down. There is always something happening with one of the characters that makes you want to continue reading to find out how it all plays out. Gloria along with Ian and his dad are very unpredictable characters who the reader is never sure what they are going to do next. This also made me want to continue reading as I wanted to make sure Maurice was ok.
I wasn’t too sure about the ending of this book as I felt it was a bit too perfect and it all got tied up nicely in a bow. I also didn’t feel that Ian deserved the ending he had which upset me a bit.
This is the first book by this author I have read and I’d definitely be interested in reading more from her in the future. If you like intense books with complex characters and plot than you’ll love this book.
Huge thanks to Emma from Bloodhound books for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book via Netgalley.
About The Author:
Joanna Stephen-Ward was born in the Australian outback, and grew up in Melbourne. Her school days were spent dreaming about being an opera singer or a writer. To the exasperation of her parents and teachers she spent her final year sitting at the back of the classroom writing a novel set in WW2.
When she left school she went to an opera school where she was taught drama, movement and language pronunciation and had small roles in the workshop productions. She was not good enough to become a professional opera singer, but the seeds of her novel Vissi d’arte were sown.
She left Australia and spent a year travelling around Europe and the UK. While working in outpatients for the NHS she met Peter and they married in 1985. They lived in Richmond Surrey and she worked at The National Archives, an enthralling place for anyone interested in history or crime.
Having been brought up as a lonely only child, she was astonished to discover in 2010 that she was one of eight children. She and her sister had last been together on a verandah in the outback when they were babies. They had a joyous reunion in Cornwall in 2012.
Joanna has written seven novels and is working on her eighth.