Author: Fiona Davis
Publisher: Dutton Publishing
Published Date: August 23, 2016
"The Dollhouse. . . . That's what we boys like to call it. . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you."
Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.
When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.
Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.
Fiona was born in Canada and raised in New Jersey, Utah and Texas. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway and in regional theater. After 10 years, she changed careers, working as an editor and writer and specializing in health, fitness, nutrition, dance and theater.
She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is based in New York City. She loves nothing better than hitting farmer’s markets on weekends in search of the perfect tomato, and traveling to foreign cities steeped in history, like London and Cartagena. THE DOLLHOUSE is her first novel.
This book had everything I could possibly want in a story!! A historic building in New York, mysterious past, romance and surprising twist! Earlier this month I visited Litchfield, CT so I felt an immediate connect to the characters in this story. I loved how Rose got so engrossed in the history of the building she was living in and the past of the ladies that still lived there.
I could hardly wait to find out what happened in the year 1952 between Darby, Esme and Sam. Hard to believe this is Fiona Davis first novel. Amazing story line! I would highly recommend picking this novel up! Loved it! 5 stars!!!
PRAISE FOR THE DOLLHOUSE
A TIME Magazine Summer Reading Pick
A Publishers Weekly First Fiction Pick
An August LibraryReads Pick
"Davis's impeccably structured debut is equal parts mystery, tribute to midcentury New York City, and classic love story . . . Darby and Rose, in alternating chapters, weave intricate threads into twists and turns that ultimately bring them together; the result is good old-fashioned suspense."
— Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Fans of Suzanne Rindell’s Three-Martini Lunch will enjoy this debut’s strong sense of time and place as the author brings a legendary New York building to life and populates it with realistic characters who find themselves in unusual situations.”
— Library Journal
"Rich in both twists and period detail, this tale of big-city ambition is impossible to put down."
—People Magazine, Book of the Week