ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward @OperaLover12 @Bloodhoundbook #BlogTour #PublicationDay
I’m delighted to be reviewing The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward today, especially as it’s publication day. Congratulations, Joanna! My thanks to Emma Welton from Bloodhound Books for the place on the tour and the review copy via Netgalley.
Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.
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 has one of those blurbs that immediately caught my attention. The idea of somebody buying a doll every time they kill someone and keeping them all together like a little family is chilling indeed. And the tagline is that this is “A chilling serial killer thriller”.
However, this book is not all that it seems. Yes, it’s about a serial killer but I didn’t find it particularly chilling. The killer is Gloria, a woman who feels like she is hard done to, who literally dislikes everyone, especially those she thinks have more than her. It’s when she takes a room as a lodger at Maurice’s house that we witness Gloria’s wickedness at its best.
This book was not what I imagined at all….in the best way. I loved every second I spent reading it. Gloria is mad, bad and very dangerous to know and I thought she was a fantastic creation. Poor Maurice got lumbered with her and he was such a nice character that I was hoping and praying he didn’t end up as the next doll on her mantelpiece.
When I say it’s not chilling, I suppose I mean it’s not scary, but it is most definitely sinister. Gloria is like a tiger getting its prey in its clutches and not letting go until it’s well and truly dead. Being able to look on whilst she did her worst made for a gripping and enthralling read.
This book also made me chuckle at times, particularly during Gloria’s exchanges with other characters, who simply can’t wait to get rid of her. And the ending was just brilliant and everything I could have hoped for. I think the author has a fantastic imagination.
The Doll Collector exceeded all my expectations. It’s different, it has some dry humour in it and I couldn’t put it down. I read about 85% of it in one sitting. I loved it.
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.