Here is the synosis from wikipedia of the book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invention_of_Hugo_Cabret)
The book’s primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata. Selznick decided to add automatons to the storyline after reading Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which tells the story of Edison's attempt to create a talking wind up doll. Méliès actually had a set of automata, which were either sold or lost. At the end of his life Méliès was broke, even as films were screening widely in the US. He did work in a toy booth in a Paris railway station, hence the setting. Selznick drew Méliès's real door in the book. It is reported that Méliès did sell some of his films to a company where they were ultimately used to make heels for shoes.
I've seen alot of review from goodreads and the book seemed to be good to most of the reviewers.