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The Address: A Novel by Fiona Davis
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The Address: A Novel (2017)

by Fiona Davis

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4995832,861 (3.58)20
"Fiona Davis, author ofThe 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 aboveone'sstation. 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 Camdenis 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 biologicalgreat-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"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
In thinking about the many stories that I've read in the past years that transition between two (2) time periods, the first novel that comes to mind is "The Baker's Daughter" by Sarah McCoy which transitioned back and forth between 1945 and present day which according to my GoodReads record I read in March 2016. I was mesmerized and found the seamless transitions to be rather magical and as the frequency of this writing style has increased or at the very least my attention has become drawn to this writing style by multiple authors I am still enchanted and captivated when it is done well.

Fiona Davis is one of the many authors that uses this writing style not only effectively in "The Address" but kept the suspense building as to the exact connection between past and present. There was one inquiry within the secret build that I found predictable but it did not diminish the secret of the past that was unfolding between the transitions of past and present. Even as Chapter One began in London in June 1884, I had a feeling that "The Address" would be in New York even though I had not read any synopsis of the novel. Perhaps because the city holds the fondest of memories for me in all that I have experienced in New York and all that is left to discover always but it's fascinating to read about the beginning of architectural changes that have become fixtures in today's living in the city of New York.

As always, I recommend reading the "Author's Note" as the novel ends to learn more about the historical connections that influenced the author's imagination and creation of this compelling story. Especially if you love New York, it is simply not to be missed! ( )
  FerneMysteryReader | Feb 17, 2020 |
I had high hopes for it, but this book didnÛªt work for me. The dual-timeline structure is SO over done, and in this case it really wasn‰Ûªt used to good advantage.

Since we know from the beginning that the character of Sarah was sent to a madhouse and later convicted of killing her lover, all suspense and surprise is removed.

As the mystery is unraveled, the pace is plodding, and almost all of the characters are unlikeable, in both timeframes. There is a completely unrealistic plot twist/reversal of fortune and an underdeveloped romance to close out the novel. (I almost couldn‰Ûªt remember who the hell the guy was who formed the male half of this couple.)

I think this was such a good idea for a story, but was so disappointing in execution, that I‰Ûªm harder on it than I would otherwise be. ( )
  AngeH | Jan 2, 2020 |
A very promising plot ruined by shoddy execution.

I was sorely tempted to not finish this book because it just seemed so tortured. The characters are flat and unlikeable, their interactions stilted and the pace is far too slow given how little actually transpires. And its the worst kind of historical fiction: where the author plays fast and loose with the facts, restructuring reality to suit the plot. Ugh.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review.
  fionaanne | Dec 6, 2019 |
Liked the historical aspect on the early days of the Dakota. ( )
  bookczuk | Nov 25, 2019 |
Story fluctuates between 1885 and 1985 and between Bailey, a recovering alcoholic and designer and Sara Smythe, a British housekeeper turned "managorette of the newly constructed Dakota. As Bailey uncovers trunks of memorabilia we live their story through Sara.
This novel is interesting for the history of the Dakota apartment building. The intrigue is there too with the mystery of Bailey's relationship to the Camdens. Still, the story is not gripping and although I liked this novel, I did not love it. ( )
  Smits | Nov 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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For Caitlin, Erin, and Lauren
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The sight of a child teetering on the window ledge of room 510 turned Sara's world upside down.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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