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The Doll Twin

"An endearingly quirky orphan. An eerie automaton. The mystery of a deceased dollmaker — this has all the hallmarks of a creepy classic."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Set in the 1920s, Janine Beacham’s The Doll Twin boasts all the compelling creepiness of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, which is really saying something.  

Orphan Una hails from a lighthouse family and has lived in a children’s home since her mother’s death, which came in the wake of her father not returning from the trenches of the Great War. Unkindly known by the home’s Matron as “Una the Unwanted”, she’s over the moon when old-fashioned Mr and Mrs Smith declare her to be “just the child we’ve dreamed of”.  

On arrival in her new home by the sea, Una is happy to make a friend in the thoroughly modern Mary — a girl who loves Hollywood and jazz, and dreams of wearing furs, diamonds and dinner suits. And the same time, Una is somewhat disturbed by hearing creepy carousel music in the dead of night, and then comes a truly terrifying discovery — a glassy-eyed, life- sized copy of herself in doll form, and it turns out it can talk!  

Though Una initially comes to the conclusion that “There is nothing in her to be afraid of”, her fears of being sent back to the home — and being usurped by her automaton twin — escalate as illuminating lighthouse legends are revealed, alongside more deliciously dark twists.  

Boasting beautifully evocative writing that’s as immediately engrossing as it is enchanting, The Doll Twin feels like a classic creepy tale. With a wonderful conjuration of the 1920s, the sense of place is also eerily atmospheric, from the crashing, thrashing Iron-Hearted Sea, to the twisty mystery that uncoils around her new parents and the dollmaker who once owned their house.

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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