book blog · book review

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan


You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for?

*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads


*Thank you HQ Digital and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Doll House is a novel by Phoebe Morgan and I have to say it is a pretty solid debut. Reading the blurb, you’d think the book revolves around Corrine but that’s not the case. It actually tells the story of Corrine and her sister, Ashley, a year after the death of their beloved father. Corrine is on edge having had three failed IVF attempts, her hope is spiraling down and so are their savings. But there is still a chance for her and partner, Dominic, to get one last shot and thankfully, Ashley is willing to generously lend them money for the treatment. When she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside their flat, Corrine thinks it’s a good sign. But then as the day goes by, and the more agitated she gets, more pieces of the doll house started turning up, too, even inside their home. She believed the pieces are from the doll house their dad made for her and Ashley when they were young. Dominic keeps dismissing her when she tells him and attributing her actions to hormones. But she knows someone is messing with her mind, but who could it be and why?

Ashley, on the other hand, is juggling motherhood and her part-time job. Her teenage daughter is becoming uncontrollable, her son is getting in trouble at school and her baby daughter is having night terrors every night. Suddenly, Ashley doesn’t know how to deal with everything anymore. As if that wasn’t enough, her husband started acting strangely that led her to believe he is having an affair. And then the weird phone calls started. Could it be James’ another woman?

I was initially drawn by the cover and the title, but it is the synopsis that promised a good mystery story. The Doll House is sure an intriguing psychological thriller mixed in with family drama but it didn’t wow me as I hoped it would. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great story and there are enough mystery, thrill, and drama to keep me reading, it is just my own fault for expecting too much.

It was told from multiple perspectives: Corrine, Ashley, Dominic and a mysterious narrator. The doll house bits are mainly directed at Corrine since she’s the only one who’s been receiving the pieces. And even then, the plot is not centered on the said doll house. There is so much more to it, the stalking and the secrets, and it’s what I find engaging. It took a while for me to really like Corrine’s character as she’s so dependent on the people around her and can be very frustrating at times. But it doesn’t stop me from sympathizing from her plight, as well as her sister’s, Ashley, who I connected more than Corrine which made me eager to find out more about her story than the other. Of course, it is the unknown narrator who’s the most interesting of all. She led a disturbing childhood that affects her perception of things when growing up. By her narration, readers will get the gist of what is her role but not who she really is. Though that bit is not so complicated to guess, as well. The cliffhanger ending is okay– acceptable, I might say– but I would have preferred it if it was not the case.

Despite the slow start and repetitive dialogues and monologues, it still managed to grab my attention until the end. There are enough mystery and suspense to keep me engaged in the story even though it is somewhat predictable. It is a well-written creepy novel about family secrets and revenge, with twists and turns that some might find surprising.




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