HarperCollins Publishers | June 2017 | 304 pgs
Source: Library

That creepy cover. No, this isn't a horror novel and although it has dolls as a theme, this story is actually about a case of a little girl's disappearance.

Lissie and Janey Woodham were out playing at their yard when the elder sister, Lissie, left 4-year-old Janey behind to chase after a puppy. Thinking Janey was back in the house, Lis didn't take notice and by then a few precious hours were wasted. Their mother, whom others called Miss Sorrell, is a doll maker and a doll collector herself. Together with her best friend and neighbour, Evelyn, they make and repair dolls and Miss Sorrell even makes her own portrait dolls which bear the hallmark of a Sorrell leaf; a special indication to differentiate her dolls from others. Their mother had made a doll for each daughter; and many speculated that Janey or whoever kidnapped her took her doll too because it couldn't be found.  

The case remains unsolved throughout the years and Lis now has a college-aged daughter, Vanessa. She continues to live with Miss Sorrell while Vanessa is in another state working on her grant proposal on sleep-related research. However, Vanessa's proposal has to take a backseat as she's received a call from Evelyn that both her grandmother and her mother are in a hospital due to an accident in their workroom. Before this, she understood that a woman had turned up at Miss Sorrell's house with a broken porcelain doll in responding to her ad about Janey's special portrait doll. Every year on the anniversary of Janey's disappearance, Miss Sorrell will place a classified ad offering a cash reward and there's been no news until now. Is that really Janey's doll and is she really alive all these years? As Miss Sorrell's family tries to find out more about that woman with the doll and its authenticity, they'll soon learn that there's more than meets the eye and whoever knows the truth surrounding Janey's disappearance will ensure that the mystery will never be solved and will do anything to keep it hidden. 

I really enjoyed reading this story. Though not entirely a gothic story, I've to say there's still a little sense of creepiness surrounding the dolls what with their real-like looks and their scattered body parts waiting to be assembled (or wigs made from real hairs). Hallie Ephron succeeded in capturing a reader's attention with her suspenseful plot and intriguing characters through her writing skills and I've to say some information about the sleep research on directing dreams is another interesting aspect of this story. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. 

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10 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    Another great-sounding book I have to add to my list... that impossibly long and ever-growing list! I'm never going to get to them all. :D

  2. I have such mixed feelings about missing children's stories. This sounds really interesting, and like one I would be open to reading. I haven't read anything by Hallie Ephron before, although I have heard of her.

    That cover is creepy! (As an unrelated aside, my daughter saw a picture of Chucky, that evil doll from the movies, at the store the other day and she told me just from looking at him she didn't like him. She said he scared her. I reassured her that I wouldn't make her watch the movies. I don't even think I've seen them, now that I think about it.)

  3. jenclair Says:

    This sounds good! I've never read anything by Hallie Ephron; the only Ephron sister I've read is Nora. Thanks for this review--I'm going to check on this one. :) (got your postcard!)

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - I'm afraid that ever-growing list will always happen to us booklovers. :D

  5. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I know what you mean about reading missing children's stories; they're always so hard to read and worse if they're abused. :(

    My daughters think Chucky is such a terrifying doll although they know nothing about the movies. I saw a few of the movies myself and thought they were real horrifying and yes, filled with violence and gore too. Definitely not a movies for children and I think those creepy dolls shouldn't be put alongside with the other dolls which are marketed for children.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I'm not familiar with Nora Ephron so I've to check out her books. Yay for the postcard received! :)

  7. The Bookworm Says:

    This sounds suspenseful and how creepy is that cover. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Melody Says:

    Naida - I really enjoyed reading this one, though the idea of a missing child always sadden me.

  9. Iliana Says:

    You are right, that cover is totally creepy - I love it! :)
    I think I may have an egalley of this one. I hope so because it sounds like a great read!

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I hope you enjoy it, Iliana. :)

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