The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse

Book - 2016
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""The Dollhouse. That's what we boys like to call it. The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you." Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past. When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong--a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance. Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist--not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dutton 1852, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101984994
Branch Call Number: FICTION DAVIS 2016
Characteristics: pages cm


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List - Literary Fiction
alaude Jul 24, 2017

Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present... Read More »

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Oct 29, 2018

This novel shifts between the early 1950s and the current times. The main characters of each era - Darcy in the 50s and Rose today, lead such different lives and have such different challenges.. or do they? The stories of these two women are engaging and gripping and are woven together so effectively.
I'm excited to see that Fiona Davis has a couple more novels and am looking forward to reading them.

Sep 06, 2018

A real page-turner! Such great descriptions of NYC in the 1950s.

Sep 01, 2018

A very compelling read. Wonderful detail of New York currently and back in the 1950's. Interesting twist near the end.

Jan 19, 2018

A book I could not put down. What I especially liked is Darby contrasting reporting a story via just words to a story with words and images. Also, watching Darby mature in her view of independence and love interests was heart-warming.

Dec 14, 2017

I agree, a really great book. Like Davis's other story this one takes two stories and finds the link between these women. However, unlike her past one this one was not nearly as predictable. I love stories that have female characters as the protagonists, where I can relate. Additionally, the two different time lines weaving historical buildings and reality is beautifully done.

Oct 09, 2017

A great book! It has a wonderful story line and I love to read about the 1950's activities taken on by the ladies of those era. I was a great book to take on vacation and have some down time to enjoy the adventures. The journalist and her partner at work was a great mix. Oct 2017

Jul 20, 2017

Really good book for first time author Fiona Davis, I have read books before that had young women living in Barbizon Hotel for Women. It really interested me to learn the background of the Barbizon Hotel and the lives of the women who lived there. A well written and entertaining book. Look forward to more from this author.

ArapahoeKathy May 26, 2017

This quick read is set in 1952 New York City Barbizon Hotel for Women and 2016 Barbizon turned Condos. The story, setting and historical details makes this book come alive and tells the story of women many would overlook.

Mar 16, 2017

I loved this book! It was such a fascinating story! I remember reading about the rooming houses in New York where women could go and there were set rules they had to follow. I didn't know this one was famous with several famous people living there like Sylvia Plath (one month) and Liza Minelli. I liked how the story went back in time to 1952 when things were actually happening to 2016 with Rose doing research for her article. The ending did have a twist and then another twist. This was so well worth my time!

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Mar 05, 2017

I wanted to love this, but I couldn't manage it. This is a dual-timeline story, with alternating chapters from 1952 and 2016, in which the characters in the present uncover the details of a mystery from the past. And I won't deny that the way Davis structured this book was clever; you never doubt that she knows exactly what she's doing, every step of the way. However--HOWEVER. The main character in the present, Rose, sincerely acts like a lunatic for much of this book, and it got hard to read about by the end. Davis' writing style is pretty workmanlike, too -- there's no sparkle to really draw you into the prose itself. I'd recommend this as a readalike for fans of Beatriz William's and Lauren Willig's books, with the caveat that, while Davis has a knack for plotting, she's not as skilled a writer as either of those other two authors.

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