The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat. It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children's dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible: Papa Jack's Toy Emporium. For years, Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, 'instant trees' that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now, his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray, homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical.