A couple of articles in national newspapers over the past few weeks have discussed the strange thing that is the reborn doll. For those who don't know what a reborn doll is, take a look at the photo in the Mail and decide whether you would honestly have known whether that baby was real or not. Reborn dolls are sometimes bought by women who have suffered a cot death or stillbirth or other trauma. In another article, The Guardian's Zoe Williams describes how a reborn doll taken into an old people's home calms and soothes some of the women. There's obviously a deep need for women to hold infants in their arms and if a real baby isn't there, the doll can carry out this role. All perfectly harmless; more than this: a good thing, perhaps.
And yet many people find the dolls sinister. They are certainly fascinating.
A reborn doll plays a small but key role in The History Room, which will be published in May 2012. And I now have a cover to share.