The Magnolia Palace
By: Fiona Davis
Publication Date: 01/25/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue, returns with a tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City's most impressive Gilded Age mansions.
Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter's life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists' models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.
Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City's most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica's financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.
"Combining a mansion turned museum, a missing diamond, a mystery, and the lives of two young women separated by half a century, Fiona Davis stirs up a beguiling story that unfolds like a clever game of Clue. Suspicions abound, and an iconic New York City landmark stands poised to reveal a page-turning tale of wealth, family dynamics, and long-held secrets."
—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
“Fiona Davis is at the top of her game in this intriguing, high-stakes novel about an iconic New York City landmark, the Frick mansion, and two women, fifty years apart, whose stories intersect within it. A family saga and historical thriller in one, The Magnolia Palace is a fast-paced, immersive delight.”
—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles
“Rich with family drama, tangled romance, cryptic clues and long-buried secrets, The Magnolia Palace is sure to be loved by Fiona Davis's devoted and new readers alike. A can't-miss for anyone who has sauntered through an art museum and found themselves tempted to peek behind a painting or two...”
—Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary
"I savor every glorious new Fiona Davis novel and The Magnolia Palace has it all—two intriguing heroines, two fabulous time periods to get swept up in, and a delicious mystery that keeps you on tenterhooks. I loved every minute of it!"
—Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls and Sunflower Sisters
"Once again, using her trademark brilliance, Fiona Davis transports her readers into a mysterious past lurking beneath the surface of our modern day world. In THE MAGNOLIA PALACE, two very different women from two eras enter the Gilded Age realm of famous industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick and his imperious daughter Helen and become part of a thrilling mystery centered on the Frick mansion that stretches through the decades. Readers will never look at a historic building quite the same way again."
—Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
"The magic of Fiona Davis is the tenderness with which she crafts her settings, so that they bloom into characters themselves. We come to know them. We come to love them. And they help us to understand our place in time. The Magnolia Palace is a love letter to art and history. An intriguing, beautiful read."
—Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author
“No one brings New York City to life like Fiona Davis. With The Magnolia Palace, Davis turns her brilliant storytelling to the Frick mansion, focusing on the strong women who made the Frick a New York icon—some on canvas, others scions of the famous family. It’s historical fiction at its best, marked by the complexity of female friendship, the glamour of the art world, and having the moxie to reinvent yourself.”
—Karin Tanabe, author of The Gilded Years
“Another brilliant historical thriller from Davis, this time set in a Gilded Age mansion in New York City. You will fall in love with Lillian, the penniless young artist’s model surviving the Spanish Flu of 1919, and Veronica, the young mod model of the 1960s, and Davis’s deftly written and beautifully woven feminist storytelling.”
—Tara Moss, #1 internationally bestselling author of The War Widow
"Davis smoothly combines fact with fiction, and offers beautiful descriptions of the family’s art collection. The colliding narratives and comprehensive descriptions of the historic mansion make for Davis’s best work to date."—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
“Davis adeptly interweaves two compelling story lines to shine a light on another NYC landmark …. This is historical fiction at its best, with well-developed characters, detail, art history, and mystery.”
—Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW)
“Fiona Davis has deployed an unmatched skill for unspooling compelling dramas amidst some of New York's most glittering historical moments.… The Magnolia Palace tells the story of two different women whose lives are changed at the Frick mansion, giving readers the chance to soak in dual eras of history all while great love, epic loss, dazzling fortunes, and foul play are afoot.”
—Town & Country
About the Author
Photographer : Deborah Feingold
F I O N A D A V I S is the New York Times bestselling author of six historical fiction novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. Her novels have been chosen as “One Book, One Community” reads and her articles have appeared in publications like The Wall Street Journal and O the Oprah magazine.
She first came to New York as an actress, but fell in love with writing after getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she's based in New York City. WEBSITE