Up to a point, yes. The book's primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata. Méliès actually had a set of automata, which were either sold or lost, but he was not the creator of them. At the end of his life Méliès was broke, even as his films were screening widely in the United States. He did work in a toy booth in a Paris railway station, hence the setting. But from there, the rest is pure fiction... and a real tearjerker of a movie. I loved it.