The Address

by Fiona Davis
My source: Netgalley

cover111665-mediumFiona 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.

This book was wicked good! I pretty much read it in two sittings, couldn’t put it down. Murder mystery, identity mystery, two time periods, illicit love affair, oh and The Dakota apartment building as almost a character! I was fascinated learning the historical details of the building and ended up on a search to find out more online about it. If you like historical fiction then you HAVE to read this. The dramatic ending was not what I expected at all!

Thank you Penguin Group Dutton for allowing  me to read and review this awesome book for you!

Read up on Dakota here and check out the apartments that are for sale right now inside it here.

Purchase this book

Amazon US
Peguin Random House

One thought on “The Address

  1. This looks mighty good, Peggy Ann. I’ve never heard of this writer but that’s not unusual as I don’t pay close attention to modern day authors – not nearly as much as I should. I’m on a vintage kick these days and that pretty much absorbs most of my reading time. But I love the Dakota, I grew up in Manhattan and later lived near the famed building – or well, within blocks anyway. To my mind it is an instant transport back in time – remember TIME AND AGAIN by Jack Finney? Time travel romance which takes place in and near the Dakota.


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