4.5 ⭐️’s from me!
Goodreads Summary: “After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility–no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.
In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda–Camden’s biological great-granddaughter–will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.
One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages–for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City–and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich–and often tragic–as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden–and the woman who killed him–on its head.
With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives –and lies–of the beating hearts within.”
I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review this book. I loved Davis’ other novel The Dollhouse, but I have to say The Address was even better! Davis has truly mastered the art of intersecting the history of an iconic building with her fictional characters.
I felt as if I was transported to the 1880’s and the construction of the Dakota. The gilded age was a perfect backdrop for the mystery of this novel. Then as the parallel plot with the characters in the 1980’s, you can’t help but be pulled into a voyage of rapid page-turning.
The overlap with fact and fiction was just want you want in historical fiction. A little intrigue layered with facts like arrival of the Statute of Liberty or maybe the appearance of famous journalist, Nellie Bly.
The Dakota is the local of love, betrayal, adventure, new beginnings and tragic endings. Definitely pick this up if you were a fan of The Dollhouse.
**I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for this opportunity.**