By: Fiona Davis
Publication Date: 8/1/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC) Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota, New York City’s most famous residence. 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.
A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an early reading copy. Review to follow.
Praise for The Address:
“The Address is compelling, historically minded fiction with unexpected—and entertaining twists and turns...the novel delights...”—Ms. Magazine
“On the heels of last year’s The Dollhouse—about life at the Barbizon Hotel—Fiona Davis is back with a compelling novel about two women, a century apart, whose both find their lives forever changed by the Dakota, Manhattan’s most famous apartment building.”—Town & Country
"An unforgettable, centuries-spanning tale of life and love in The Dakota, NYC's most famous apartment house.”—SouthernLiving.com
“Let this evocative novel sweep you away to another time and place.”—POPSUGAR
“Two women, connected but a century apart, find intrigue and hardship in the Dakota, New York City’s landmark apartment building. Its fascinating history—mixed with romance, family discord and murder—makes this a fast-paced read.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Davis has folded together two historical eras in this breezy historical novel that jumps between Gilded Age and Reagan-era New York City...[she] overlays the two histories beautifully...The book, rife with historical description and architectural detail, will appeal to design and history buffs alike.”—Publishers Weekly
“An evocative and intriguing story of love, class, secrets, and pasts, The Address tells the tale of two very different working women who lived almost a hundred years apart and the mystery that may or may not connect them and link their fates. Set at one of the most historic and glamorous apartment buildings in Manhattan, the book is this summer's perfect beach read.”—Wendy Lawless, New York Times bestselling author of Chanel Bonfire and Heart of Glass “The Address transported me through the grand doors of the Dakota building, and right into the hearts of its inhabitants. Rich in historic glamour and hugely enjoyable.”—Eve Chase, author of Black Rabbit Hall and The Wilding Sisters
“A superb tale, masterfully told, with splendid detail and historical accuracy.”—Andrew Alpern, author of The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building
"Rich both in twists and period detail, this tale of big-city ambition is impossible to put down." —People
About the Author
Author Photo by Kristen Jensen
F I O N A 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 ten years, Fiona changed careers, working as an editor and writer, and her historical fiction debut, The Dollhouse, was published in 2016. She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is based in New York City. Read More