I am reading a fantastic book by Fiona Davis, a novelist from New York, who has written three novels, all set in iconic New York buildings erected during the 1920s and 1930s. The Dollhouse is structured around the Barbizon, an early hotel that offered a chaperoned environment to single young ladies seeking secretarial and modeling careers. The Address, Davis’s second novel is set at The Dakota, the famous New York apartment building with a rich history (coincidentally where John Lennon was shot), and now my new favorite, The Masterpiece, featuring the Art School above Grand Central Station/Terminal. All three novels stand independently and are not sequels. I can honestly say this novel is her best yet.
Davis offers readers mystery, love, complex relationships, plot twists and turns, and her forte–problematic communication issues between characters. So far it is a GREAT read.
Here is a teaser, randomly taken from the middle of the book.
Virginia, the protagonist, has just sprayed Mace on a mugger: “Her assailant screamed and covered his eyes…The mugger had wanted the painting. Not her purse… Her thoughts were racing from shock. She took a deep breath to calm herself.” Obviously, I have skipped whole paragraphs to set the plot and shorten the post.
Davis’s story, like all her novels, moves back and forth between the “present” (in the case of The Masterpiece, the 70s) and the correlative stories of an earlier historical period. This is NOT hard to follow, however, because she cleverly places the date at the beginning of the chapter when the setting shifts forward or backward in time.
BEST NEWS YET…Her fourth novel, The Chelsea Girls will be published this summer. I can hardly wait.