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  • Location: London

The Toymakers

The Toymakers

Why a Booktrail?

1906, 1917: Inside a toy emporium in London, there’s a world of wonder but also of darkness…

  • ISBN: 978-1785036347
  • Genre: Fantasy/Sci Fi, Historical, magical realism

What you need to know before your trail

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…

Travel Guide


Sadly Papa Jack’s is not a real store nor is there an emporium tucked away in a small narrow alleyway in London, which passers by can’t see…it’s a store of wonderment which you have to want to see. It’s a destination that you will never forget

The street it’s located in is close to Claridges Hotel and somewhere where present day Brook Mews is located.

“If on a certain hour, on a certain winter night, you too had been wandering the warren between New Bond Street and Avery Row, you might have seen it for yourself.”

“…the rippling snowflakes would part to reveal a mews you had not noticed before…”

 The Toymakers

Papa Jack’s Emporium

More magical than Hamley’s (Hamley’s is mentioned as being this store’s competition) and across the gabled roofs close to the store, the dark inky sky of London is momentarily obstructed by the clouds and the bright lights from the streets below”

Most of the story takes place firmly inside the store but there are a few visits to sites such as Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park when Clara sees a small part of London on her first day out from the store and a day where she explores a little, at first, from the windows of her hansom cab.

There are flashbacks to Russia and the war in France via some of the characters but these are fleeting. It’s the story of here and now, the effects on those who are now in the toyshop fearful of the effects and consequences of war.

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @Thebooktrailer

This is a joy of  a read. The sentences are equisite and the magical feeling they evoke, reminiscient of that sense of amazement you got as a child. There is childhood magic in this book and words of wisdom such as ““There’s a shared heritage in toys. Take any man and show him a hobby horse and a little piece of him will be a boy again”

I was like a child going into that store. The trees, the soldiers and oh! the wendy house. The store comes alive in more ways than one.

It’s a story to discover for yourself as there’s not just magic in these pages but a sombre and poignant story too. Sad moments and meaningful glances off the page, but the whole package is like a jack in the box, as when you open it, there’s shock, surprise, awe and that after effect when you sit back and take in what you’ve just seen and been part of.

The story is centered around Kaspar and Emil’s battle for the control of the Emporium. The book guides the characters through two world wars, two harrowing world wars. Love of a family, loyalty of two brothers to the store and their vision for it, and the war..not just outside but on the battlefield in the toy shop itself

There are some harrowing moments though despite this magic –  Jack’s background story of his imprisonment in Siberia, one of the brother’s experiences of the ‘’white feather’’ incidents.And the result of Kaspar’s time on the front line.

What words would I use to describe this novel? The language is poetic, ethereal, like a flickering night light projecting visions of flowers, people and soldiers on the walls of your imagination.

Enter the Emporium and then delve into the darkness as the book progresses…a war both inside and out…and the ultimate salvation of a childhood dream.

Truly magical and highly recommended! Kudos to the author for transporting me back to some very happy and magical moments we all share to some degree.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Toymakers

Destination: London  Author/Guide: Robert Dinsdale  Departure Time: 1906, 1917

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