Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, 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.

My Thoughts 
Fiona's books capture the past event in such amazing detail.  I feel like I can picture it perfectly through her words and descriptions.  I fell in love with historical fiction through The Address and I couldn't believe that I had never read The Dollhouse!
Learning about Darby's journey you couldn't help but admire what she went through.  Coming from a small town without many chances and landing in New York City to go to school.  She went from knowing nothing to going to night clubs at night and learning to take care of herself.
She may not have made the best of friends or the best choices but she learned tough lessons and she made the most of what she had to work with.
Then a century later, Rose hits a road block with her boyfriend and doesn't know where to go and happens to fall upon the story of the Barbizon and learns that some of its previous tenants still lived on the 4th floor!  What a story they have to tell, if only Rose can get them to let her in and share the details.
An amazing story of loss, love and resilience from beginning to end.  I can't wait to read Fiona's next book!  Perfection!

Drink Selection 
I'm taking it back to the 1950's - rum runner's were quite the hit back then!  Yum!

I LOVED this selection from beginning to end!  Amazing!  5 wine glasses all the way!
About the Author
Fiona Davis is the author of THE DOLLHOUSE and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a masters at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Visit her at, and on Instagram and Twitter @fionajdavis.

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