“People react strangely to things that are different.”
– R. M. Romero, The Dollmaker of Kraków
Hello everyone! Today I’m reviewing The Dollmaker of Kraków, a debut novel from R. M. Romero which came out in September 2017. I wasn’t able to get a copy right away but my amazing bestie gifted me it for Christmas! And let me tell you: I am already fairly sure that this will make it into my favourites list for this year! It was THAT good. Before I start flailing about how beautiful this book is, have a gander at what it’s about:-
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Kraków, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.
I knew as soon as I read that blurb that this was MY KIND OF BOOK. But I wasn’t prepared for how utterly beautiful and heart-breaking it would be. The Dollmaker of Kraków shattered my heart into a million pieces and I can’t adequately express how much I love it.
This book is beautifully written and contains some of the most powerful and moving imagery I have ever come across. Like, reducing me to a puddle of tears powerful. I couldn’t take my eyes from the pages, even though I knew I was going to become an absolute mess. Thank goodness I read this at home because ugly crying in public is never fun.
I absolutely loved the parallels between Kraków and the Land of the Dolls, and in my opinion they made an already fantastic story even stronger. The book was interspersed with snippets of story detailing Karolina’s time in the Land of the Dolls and I thought this was such a clever plot device that would particularly endear the story to younger readers.
Karolina and the Dollmaker were both so precious and pure, and some of their exchanges gave me ALL THE FEELS. I loved Karolina’s innocence even if it did increase my heartbreak tenfold. I was literally shedding tears on behalf of a fictional doll and I’m not ashamed of it in the slightest.
This is an incredible debut that is completely magical and perfect for readers of all ages.
Has anyone else read this one? Or is it on your TBR? I want everyone to read it!!