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The Spectacular (2023)

by Fiona Davis

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26217102,160 (4.01)2
"New York City, 1956: Nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks knows she should be happy. Her college sweetheart is about to propose and sweep her off to the life everyone has always expected they'd have together: a quiet house in the suburbs, Marion staying home to raise their future children. But instead, Marion finds herself feeling trapped. So when she comes across an opportunity to audition for the famous Radio City Rockettes-the glamorous precision-dancing troupe-she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer. Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the 'Big Apple Bomber,' who has been terrorizing the citizens of New York for sixteen years by planting bombs in popular, crowded spaces. With the public in an uproar over the lack of any real leads after a yearslong manhunt, the police turn in desperation to Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling. As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled in to the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that as much as she's been training herself to blend in-performing in perfect unison with all the other identical Rockettes-if she hopes to catch the bomber, she'll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she's worked for, as well as the people she loves the most." --… (more)
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In 1956, Marion Brooks has dreams of being a dancer. But, her father, Simon, wants her to settle down and get married to Nathaniel. Marion also outshines her sister, Judy, who works for their father at Met Power. On a whim, Marion auditions for The Rockettes, and is hired. Simon is furious. Meanwhile, there's a bomber hitting NYC targets. When Judy attends a show at Radio City, she is harmed by a bomb. Marion feels guilty and with Dr. Peter Griggs, a psychological profiler, she is determined to find the bomber.
This is a look at the glitz and glamour of Radio City and the life of a Rockette. It is also the story of a young woman trying to have a career in 1950s. Later, in 1992, at 55, Marion is remembering her life.
Enjoyable and informative. ( )
  rmarcin | Mar 7, 2024 |
Marion lives at home with her dad, Simon, and sister, Judy. Their mother died tragically and they were raised by their father. Marion is set to get engaged to Nathaniel, even though she really doesn’t want to. Simon works as an executive for Metropolitan Power and Judy is his assistant. Marion is a dance teacher and gets an incredible opportunity to join the Rockettes, which she jumps at, despite the disapproval from both her father and her soon-to-be fiance.

For 16 years, the Big Apple Bomber has been terrorizing iconic locations within NYC. One night, while Marion is performing, a bomb explodes in Radio City Music Hall. Marion is sure she’s seen the bomber and tries to convince the police of the same. They choose to ignore her. She meets Peter through another dancer, Bunny, and Marion and Peter start investigating this matter on their own.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book for an honest review.
Told in alternating timelines - first in the 1950s and then in the 1990s when Marion is going back to Radio City for a special event. Most of the story takes place in the earlier time frame.

The characters are wonderful, the storyline is fabulous and you learn things about the Rockettes you may not have already known. Highly recommend! ( )
  Cathie_Dyer | Feb 29, 2024 |
I love Fiona Davis' books and this one is no exception! This one is about Radio City Music Hall intertwined with a mystery bomber during the early 1950s. After moving to New Jersey from NC, my family spent every weekend in NYC and always made sure we went to Radio Music Hall every time they played a new movie and show. I don't remember the movies but I never forgot the Rockettes and their shows! Reading this book brought back those memories for me as well as learning about the Rockettes and how they performed. I just loved this book! ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Dec 8, 2023 |
I'm really enjoying Fiona Davis' books, as I feel like I'm exploring New York City and its history one building at a time. This novel is centered around Radio City Music Hall and one young woman who becomes a Rockette there in the 1950s. Radio City was one of the targets of a pipe bomber in this era and this book quickly becomes a mystery, as the characters seek to figure out who might be to blame. An interesting, fun, and informative read with plenty of hope. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 2, 2023 |
Another great piece of historical fiction by this author! The Spectacular, as with many HF books, enlightened me to a part of history I knew nothing about. The story blends the reality of the "Big Apple Bomber" with the dreams and determination of Marion, a young woman yearning to pursue her dreams instead of her father's demands.
I loved the glimpse into the life of a Rockette in the 1950s and felt like I stepped back in time to life in New York City seventy years ago.
Marion is determined to be a Rockette, determined to help solve the mystery behind the bombs and determined to create a future that will make both herself and her father happy. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with this interesting read! ( )
  JillHannah | Nov 20, 2023 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Greg Wands
First words
I still dance in my dreams.
Quotations
How easy it is to idealize someone when your time together was fraught and short.
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Disambiguation notice
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Blurbers
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"New York City, 1956: Nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks knows she should be happy. Her college sweetheart is about to propose and sweep her off to the life everyone has always expected they'd have together: a quiet house in the suburbs, Marion staying home to raise their future children. But instead, Marion finds herself feeling trapped. So when she comes across an opportunity to audition for the famous Radio City Rockettes-the glamorous precision-dancing troupe-she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer. Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the 'Big Apple Bomber,' who has been terrorizing the citizens of New York for sixteen years by planting bombs in popular, crowded spaces. With the public in an uproar over the lack of any real leads after a yearslong manhunt, the police turn in desperation to Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling. As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled in to the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that as much as she's been training herself to blend in-performing in perfect unison with all the other identical Rockettes-if she hopes to catch the bomber, she'll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she's worked for, as well as the people she loves the most." --

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