'This crazy world whirled around her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds are mechanical and the few human figures went masked . . . She was in the night once again, and the doll was herself.'
One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother's wedding dress. The next morning, she learns of her parents' deaths and her world is shattered. She is sent to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie and Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, a toymaker who loves only his creations: clockwork roses and puppets that are life-size - and uncannily lifelike.