I super enjoy Non-Fiction on specific niche objects so when I saw this I couldn’t not give it a try.
Life in Miniature: A History of Doll’s Houses by Nicola Lisle
Source: Netgalley, thank you to the publisher Pen and Sword History books
TL; DR : Though a bit dry in places this gives a little life to a fascinating part of history that is usually just glimpsed in the background.
So a big reason I was drawn to this was that prior to reading it I had read quite a few Victorian set novels and mysteries and in several of them Miniatures and Doll’s Houses were mentioned. Growing up I had a secret fascination with them as well, though as a tomboy I considered it to girly a hobby for me to follow through on. This talks about why and how the dolls houses and the idea of miniatures became so popular when they did and briefly touches on that same topic throughout the years.
More information on that could have been useful in fact as the book tends to focus in on the list and description of houses and displays (the book does also cover miniature towns and neighborhoods). In the copy I had, which was an ARC so this may not be the case in the finished copy, the images were also nested in the back in an index which also made picturing and reading tricky.
I think this is definitely a book I’d recommend to someone who loves doll houses and miniatures but also to anyone who enjoys the Victorian era specifically. So many books I’ve read set in that time, a little before and a little after, have mentioned in passing or featured miniatures and dolls houses. This really gives you some context and life in those references. Think books like The Miniaturist, or the model rooms in And Only To Deceive. It helped to bring those to life for me, when before I’d simply accepted them as set pieces. So this was a short but enjoyable read that adds color and spark to historical objects I wouldn’t normally pay much mind and for that it’s a read I very much enjoyed.
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