'This crazy world whirled about her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds were mechanical and the few human figures went masked . . . She was in the night again, and the doll was herself'
One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother's wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave her rural home, she is sent to London to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the puppets he creates in his workshop, which are life-sized - and uncannily life-like.